It’s no secret that the next world war will be fought on a cyber battle ground. Even without the threat of large scale war, there is the ever-persistent threat of cyberterrorism. How do we find the talent for national defense jobs to help combat and prepare for this when much higher paying private sector jobs are having a problem recruiting top talent?
Earlier this year Congressman Ruben Gallego proposed a solution at SXSW. His proposal was a National Guard for cybersecurity, and although this isn’t a “real thing” yet, I have some thoughts and questions on it.
Why A Cyber National Guard Is Needed
It’s no secret that there is already a lack of qualified practitioners of information security. Most of those that can do the job, already do, and they do it in the private sector where they are paid more and there is more flexibility in work/life balance.
Unfortunately, working in national security doesn’t often provide this sort of pay or flexibility. Also, there may be plenty of qualified security analysts that cannot meet the physical requirements set for military personnel. A combination of these problems result in a lack of National Security InfoSec analysts.
However, I’m sure there are many that would be willing to serve their country if they could get around these obstacles, or at least make a compromise on them.
The proposed National Guard of Cyber Security would be a way to bring in talent from the private sector of people that are passionate about serving their country. The people that use their knowledge day in and day out to defend the corporate networks could be of great value to the military. It would also allow people access to obtaining security clearances and play with technology they might not otherwise use in their day-to-day work. This can be a huge plus for most of us who would love the opportunity to get a clearance since these can be very expensive.
How Do I Get Involved With This?
Well, right now, this isn’t a thing. It merely came from a talk that Congressman Gallego gave at this year’s SXSW. The best ways for you to get involved right now include:
- Add to the conversation – Share your thoughts on this idea on social media, on this page, and with your peers. If you have the opportunity to speak at a conference this year, add this to your talk. Get the conversation going and if we have enough people discussing the idea, there is a better chance in fleshing it out and having something real to propose.
- Contact Your Local Rep – This year I personally pledged to be more involved with the politics of our country. If you have made the same promise, I urge you to contact your State Senators and your local District Representatives. Talk to them about the idea of a Cyber National Guard. Talk to them about what needs to be done to make this proposal real, and hold them accountable for it.
What Would My Cyber National Guard Program Look Like?
As of right now, I’ve only discussed it with myself. So, these ideas and plans are all very much what’s been bouncing in my head. This just means that it’s a starting point. In order to have better plans and proposals, I’m bouncing these ideas off of you. Please comment below or contact me on social media if you have any suggestions to my thoughts here. This is something I’m serious and passionate about.
Just like our current Reservists and National Guard members, I think one weekend every month and two weeks every year would be sufficient. Obviously, more time might be needed for training since technology (especially information security technology) changes at such a rapid pace, and I am a big believer in making the time for training.
Being on the verge of a heart attack at any minute probably isn’t the best situation to be in for this role (or just for you personally), but I don’t think that the fitness requirements that are for current military personnel would really need to apply to this role. These would be non-physical positions and would not require the same level of fitness as other military roles would.
Roles and duties could include anything from participating in intelligence (and counter intelligence) activities, to making sure that national infrastructure remains safe. They could also include being a trainer to full-time military personnel. This would actually help to create more qualified full-time military cyber security specialist.
This is all I’ve worked out at this point. I’m hoping to add more to this plan over time, so please share your thoughts, feelings, and comments below.