Recently, an official of the National Security Agency stated that the shortage of highly talented information security professionals had not yet hurt our security, but that it sure made the job more of a challenge. The operative word here is “yet.” Thank God for those professionals manning the terminals across all of our diverse infrastructure sectors. They are holding off the growing tide of cyber threats, and they need help.

Much like the valiant 300 Spartans, who fought at Thermopolis to stop Persian army, they know that eventually the will be overwhelmed if they do not get help. They are fighting by rules the enemy does not follow. They respect privacy and jurisdictions. They are waiting for the rest of us to join the fight.

The American public will not join what they don’t understand. The young people, who have the skills and worldview to qualify for this fight, really don’t know there is a war going on. To them, their skills and comfort with technology are just normal. We have to tap this resource. We must make Americans aware of the threats they face.

A stated goal of the Education and Awareness campaign (as yet, not started), called for by the Presidential Report of 29 May 2009, is to recruit more students to professions enabling them to play a role in defending America’s infrastructures. What are we waiting for? The campaign will not yield results in weeks or months, but in years. How long will we leave our “300” alone?

We desperately need more Info Sec professionals of the highest quality. Other nations are training tens of thousands of cyber fighters; we measure our output in dozens per year.

Please, Mr. President, I know you are busy, but tell your folks to start the campaign. It will allow the citizens to protect themselves more effectively and will begin the process of attracting new cyber fighters to the ranks. We cannot wait forever. The Greeks were roused by the bravery of the original 300, but they all died. We need to join them before they are overwhelmed. Afterwards, it may be too late.

Dr. Steven Bucci is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He was previously a lead consultant to IBM on cyber security policy. Bucci’s military and government service make him a recognized expert in the interagency process and defense of U.S. interests, particularly with regard to critical infrastructure and what he calls the productive interplay of government and the private sector. Read More
  • Kathy Smith

    Please continue writing articles like this. If we're lucky, maybe someone will eventually take notice and listen. From a reader who appreciates your efforts to keep our homes and (computers) safe.