“Legions” of cyber attacks, information leaks and computing carelessness have created both a threat to U.S. national security and a massive need for new breeds of cyber security professionals, according to a recent report.

The Fort Meade Alliance’s white paper, “Cyber Mindset: Transforming Education and Expanding the Workforce for America’s Cybersecurity Challenge and Maryland’s Newest Industry,” presents a comprehensive analysis of cybersecurity threats and the challenge of addressing the training needs to create the workforce to address these threats.

The federal government will need to hire up to 1,000 cyber workers each year to address potential security threats, according to Rep. Michael Arcuri, D, NY, in the paper. Yet the extreme shortage of workers with adequate cybersecurity skills has resulted in severe competition for these workers.

“There is insufficient training for workers to upgrade skills, inadequately funded federal scholarship programs to lay a foundation for a talent pipeline, a cumbersome and lengthy federal hiring process, and a lack of in-house capability at many agencies to properly manage contractors,” according to the National Security Cyberspace Institute, in the white paper.

Plus, there is a lack of professional criteria and certification standards for cyber professionals, which is making some college training programs inadequate to meet federal cyber needs. There is a need for cybersecurity pros with “intangible skills” like innovative thinking, creativity, communication and leadership, which is difficult to quantify for educators. There are also concerns regarding the number of foreign students in U.S. colleges and universities, which prevents producing a quality workforce able to fill the pipeline and qualify for security clearances.

While some federal agencies like the National Security Agency and the Defense Information Systems Agency have made strides to assemble the cyber workforce, overall the federal government is “regularly falling short of cyber hiring goals,” the report stated. In particular, the Fort Meade region is feeling these staffing shortages more acutely, since it has become a national center for cyber activity.

The report also suggests that there is a “critical need” for partnerships between government, industry, educators and the community, in order to “continually bring fresh concepts and new critical thinking to the issues facing our cyber world.”

Overall it will take a national effort akin to the way NASA grew its stable of space engineers by highlighting the “race to the moon,” the report states, but now it should be the pursuit of cybersecurity that needs to be highlighted.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO, AllBusiness.com, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, ClearanceJobs.com, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.