For DHS, Cybersecurity Education Begins in Kindergarten

By Melanie Arter | October 26, 2012 | 3:36pm EDT

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano delivers a speech at George Washington University on January 27, 2011 (Photo: DHS)

(CNSNews.com) In a blog on the Department of Homeland Security website, Secretary Janet Napolitano said her department is working to develop the next generation of leaders in cybersecurity beginning in kindergarten.

In a blog titled, “Inspiring the Next Generation of Cyber Professionals,” Napolitano said, “In addition, we are extending the scope of cyber education beyond the federal workplace through the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, involving students from kindergarten through post-graduate school.”

“At DHS, we’re working to develop the next generation of leaders in cybersecurity while fostering an environment for talented staff to grow in this field. We are building strong cybersecurity career paths within the Department, and in partnership with other government agencies,” the secretary said.

DHS also sponsors the U.S. Cyber Challenge, she said, “a program that works with academia and the private sector to identify and develop the best and brightest cyber talent to meet our nation’s growing and changing security needs.”

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) noted on its website that the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation are leading the Formal Cybersecurity Education Component.

“Their mission is to bolster formal cybersecurity education programs encompassing kindergarten through 12th grade, higher education and vocational programs, with a focus on the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines to provide a pipeline of skilled workers for the private sector and government,” the website said.

“A digitally literate workforce that uses technology in a secure manner is imperative to the Nation’s economy and the security of our critical infrastructure,” NICE said on its website. 

“Just as we teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics, reading, writing and other critical subjects to all students, we also need to educate all students to use technology securely in order to prepare them for the digital world in which we live,” the website added.

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