Napolitano: DHS Is ‘Infant That Needs to Walk and Run’ Right Now

By Melanie Arter | October 25, 2012 | 5:20 PM EDT

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (AP Photo)

( Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said Thursday that as a new department, DHS is “an infant,” because it is just under 10 years old, but it must grow quickly.

“We’re not yet 10 years old. In terms of government institutions, we are an infant, but we are an infant that needs to walk and run very— right now, so we can’t take the normal steps, so everything that we’re doing, we’re trying to accelerate. There’s a sense of urgency here that is so very important,” Napolitano said.

In keynote remarks on “Building a Cyber Security Workforce Through Diversity” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Napolitano said the Department of Homeland Security has increased the number of cyber security staff 600 percent in the last few years to keep up with the growing cyber threat.

“We have now grown our cyber security staff 600 percent in the last few years, and we are working very closely with universities to develop and attract talent,” Napolitano said, adding that they are using competitive scholarships, fellowships, and internship programs to attract new talent.

Meanwhile, “the number of attacks on cyber and cyber infrastructure has increased exponentially” during her time as secretary, Napolitano said, “not only by number but also in sophistication.”

“In terms of attribution, some are just hackers or hacktivists as they’re called. Some are organized groups. Some may even be nation-state related, but this is an ongoing theater for us and one that is of paramount importance,” she said.

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