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The U.S. Government Wants 6,000 New 'Cyber Warriors' by 2016

Businessweek - A few days later, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Gilgen said at a conference on cybercrime that his agency's cyber division plans to hire 1,000 agents and 1,000 analysts in the coming year.

Just those two agencies are looking for 6,000 people with cybersecurity skills in the next two years. That's a very tall order. A look at one way the government has tried to build and recruit such talent—offering university scholarships—shows why.

The biggest such program, called CyberCorps, or Scholarship for Service, started in 2000. The scholarship covers tuition, books, and professional development and includes a cash stipend of $20,000 to $30,000 a year, depending on whether the student is pursuing a bachelor's, a master's, or a doctorate. After school, recipients serve in government for the same length of time as they received funding, two to three years, usually. Unlike many government programs, it has seen its budget triple to $45 million a year in the past three fiscal years, says Victor Piotrowski, lead program director for CyberCorps at the National Science Foundation. As of January, CyberCorps had produced 1,554 graduates, with 463 more currently in school.

"You would think, with all those benefits and a hot area, cybersecurity, that people would just be pouring into the program," says Piotrowski. "We have a very, very tiny pipeline."

One hurdle is that participants must be U.S. citizens. Right off the bat, that eliminates more than 70 percent of those receiving master's degrees in computer engineering at U.S. schools, he says.

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Dune Lawrence. "The U.S. Government Wants 6,000 New 'Cyber Warriors' by 2016" Businesweek. 15 April 2014. Web. 16 April 2014.