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Strengthening Cyber Security Education is Key, Says NSA's Information Assurance Technical Director

Our lives are becoming more and more connected to technology every day. The number of social networking and instant messaging accounts are exploding. By the end of 2010, The Radicati Group projects that there will be 2.2 billion social network accounts worldwide. At the same time, the threat to our information systems from hackers and bad actors is increasing just as rapidly. Private companies, governments, and individuals are all at risk. Symantec, providers of Norton security products, recently reported that 65% of all Internet users worldwide and 75% of Internet users in the US have been the victim of cyber crime, including viruses and identity theft.

That is why protecting our Nation's critical information in cyber space is one of our most serious economic and national security challenges. It is a challenge that our institutions and our country are inadequately prepared to address in terms of current and future risks. William J Lynn, Deputy Secretary of Defense, recently noted in Foreign Affairs Journal the urgent need to increase our cyber security proficiency. He said the Pentagon is increasing cyber training and establishing certification programs, but that in the coming years other countries such as China and India will train more computer professionals than the United States, leaving us behind the curve.

Richard "Dickie" George, Technical Director for Information Assurance at NSA understands the growing demand for cyber security professionals and is working to advance education and training through NSA's National Information Assurance Education and Training Program (NIETP). The NIETP, a national program tied to business and academia, operates under national authority to improve IA education, training and awareness. Its programs ensure the preparation of professionals entrusted with securing our critical information through a variety of programs. George says, "Strengthening the cyber workforce of the future is key to protecting our National critical information and the NIETP is one way we are addressing the cyber problem."

The NIETP has contributed significantly to the overall health of our National Security Systems (NSS) by developing training and education standards, establishing and growing the Centers of Academic Excellence in IA Education Program, ( and promoting professional certifications. This success would not have been possible without strong partnerships among federal, State, and local authorities; academia; private sector organizations; and our International Partners. Mr. George remarked, "Working together, the NIETP will better position our Nation with the trained people we need in the field of cyber security; these people may wind up working in academia, in industry, or for the Government – but anywhere they are, they are helping to protect our citizens and our country."


Date Posted: Jan 19, 2010 | Last Modified: Oct 25, 2010 | Last Reviewed: Oct 25, 2010