Tony Coulson, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Cybersecurity Center, testified before a congressional subcommittee on Thursday, to apprise all those in attendance that the nation is in a crisis situation of a 500,000 person shortage in the cyber workforce.
“Let that number sink in,” Coulson told members of the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation.
“That’s an absurd number. If this was doctors and nurses, there would be a national outcry.”
Coulson was one of four speakers who had been invited to testify before the House subcommittee.
The theme was “The Cyber Talent Pipeline: Educating a Workforce to Match Today’s Threats,” and it marked the first time that Coulson, a professor of information decision sciences at the CSUSB Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, spoke before Congress.
(See the hearing directly. Courtesy of the Homeland Security, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation and YouTube. Posted on July 27, 2021.)
“Cal State San Bernardino is committed to solve this workforce problem,” Coulson said.
“Working with our partners at the National Security Agency Centers of Academic Excellence program, Cal State San Bernardino established and leads the National Centers of Academic Excellence Community in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C), a strong collaboration of 335 NSA designated community colleges and universities all working to solve this cyber workforce shortage.”
According to Coulson the program also partners with many federal agencies including the National Security Agency (NSA, as program managers); the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was recognized in the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program; the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), recognized in the 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program; and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
“This unique collaboration provides a great vantage point to see gaps, silos and duplication and develop solutions through collaboration,” Coulson said.
One of the gaps is in educating and developing K-12 students in cyber education.
“Look we know that K through 12 is a huge opportunity and there’s a lot of activity in this space and there’s a lot of investment through a lot of agencies, but there are still gaps,” Coulson said.
“There’s a lot of work to be done here,” Coulson said.
“We need to increase diversity but also in rural and homeschool networks, and so the Centers of Academic Excellence Community just released a program focusing on rural and homeschooling.”
He added that along with helping get Advance Placements in cyber education into the national curriculum, CSUSB has put together extracurricular activities such as camps and cyber competitions.
(Learn about the academic programs and services available at Jack Brown Hall in the campus of San Bernardino. Courtesy of Ramos Neyeli and YouTube.)
“As a matter of fact, the GenCyber program at Cal State San Bernardino that we originally partnered with Cyber.org, the genesis of that camp at Cal State San Bernardino that’s now affected thousands of kids led to a c,” Coulson said.
In addition to the gap in cyber workforce, the United States also faces a significant cyber research workforce gap.
“We need to home grow research skills, so Cal State San Bernardino and its (CAE Community) partners in the community just launched the Information Security Research Education Program, a unique program where we take technical directors from the national labs and the National Security Agency and others, and work with diverse student teams around the country and a variety of institutions to solve real-world technical problems,” Coulson said.
Other witnesses invited to speak before the congressional subcommittee included Kevin Nolten, the director of academic outreach, CYBER.ORG; Ralph Ley, department manager of the National and Homeland Security Workforce Development and Training, Idaho National Laboratory (INL); and Max Stier, president and CEO, Partnership for Public Service.
In its designation as a national center, the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center has worked to establish and manage three CAE-C Communities of Practice, coordinate cutting-edge research, establish and support five regional hubs around the country, and support cybersecurity education nationally.
(The prestigious designation as the Community National Center for Cybersecurity Education illustrates CSUSB’s continued prominence as the premier institution of higher education for cybersecurity education. Courtesy of Cal State San Bernardino and YouTube. Posted on Oct 7, 2020.)
The center, from 2010-2020, has brought in over $28 million worth of grant sponsored programs from entities that include the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), the NSA, the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Cybersecurity Training and Education (NCyTE) Center, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Through the grant-sponsored activities of the center, students can compete for scholarships, participate in national conferences, and research emerging cybersecurity issues.
The CAE in Cybersecurity Community provides a unique partnership of schools designated by the NSA as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber.
As the National Center, Cal State San Bernardino works with institutions of higher learning on a range of programs ranging from apprenticeships, K-12 educational programs, cyber defense, competitions and cybersecurity research.
In 1999, the NSA launched the Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE-IAE) program, which under this program, an institution could receive the CAE-IAE designation if it passed rigorous curriculum and program requirements.
By May 1999, seven schools became designated as a CAE, and soon, many more institutions joined the ranks of CAE-designated institutions.
While the CAE-IAE program was initially formed to address the shortage of intelligence community professionals, the program later expanded to address the lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals in the workforce.
The newly named CAE programs in Cyber Defense (CD), Research (R) and Cyber Operations (CO) now include over 330 academic institutions and over 100,000 active students.
CSUSB, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, is recognized globally for its Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration and nationally for its leadership in developing the country’s cybersecurity workforce.
California State University, San Bernardino is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in Inland Southern California, and serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually.
The university offers more than 70 traditional baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, education credential and certificate programs, and a doctorate program in educational leadership.
Every one of its eligible academic programs has earned national accreditation.
CSUSB reflects the dynamic diversity of the region and has the most diverse student population of any university in the Inland Empire, with more than 80 percent of those who graduate being the first in their families to do so.
To Learn More about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit https://www.csusb.edu/inside.
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