Wednesday, October 2, 2013

U.S. Agencies Revamp Standards for Cybersecurity Program

Chronicle of Higher Education (09/30/13) Megan O'Neil 

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are releasing new curriculum standards for the joint National Centers of Academic Excellence cybersecurity program. The designation currently covers 181 cyber­-security programs at colleges and universities, and the overhaul will require institutions to reapply for the program. "Every cybersecurity professional that comes out of college and takes a job is a win for the government, whether they work for John Deere, Boeing, or Target," says DHS cybersecurity­-education awareness branch chief Robin Williams, noting that global cybercrime costs $388 billion annually. "We are losing intellectual property. We are losing our nation's work and our nation's vision and our nation's ingenuity because we are not able to protect it." The Centers of Academic Excellence label carries prestige for colleges and universities, helping attract students and federal scholarships and grants. However, the program's former training guidelines, the Committee on National Security Systems standards, were criticized for recommending that students learn how to execute specific technical functions. In addition, critics argued that too many programs received the designation, thereby lessening its value. NSA and DHS have changed the standards to include new knowledge units with a core curriculum and additional, optional units that colleges can implement to promote specialties.

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