Creative Solutions to Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

In the last 12 months, more than 769,000 cybersecurity jobs were posted in the United States. Unfortunately, there are not enough trained cyber professionals to meet this need across government and private industry, but the roles need to be filled. A report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in late 2021 named the cybersecurity skills gap as a leading cause of risk for Federal agencies. To meet this need and risk head-on, the government is coming up with creative ways to fill cyber positions.

Funding Scholarships

The DoD had been looking to set up military-style academies focused on cyber education; however, the direction has shifted in the latest National Defense Authorization Act. The latest proposal recommends establishing a DOD Cyber and Digital Service Academy within existing universities and colleges. This means that students studying certain cyber and digital service disciplines could receive up to five years of tuition and room and board. In exchange, recipients would agree to work for the DoD for the same number of years that they received the scholarship. This is not unprecedented. The National Science Foundation's CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program has been in place since 2000. It has placed over 4,500 people in government organizations including DoD, the National Security Agency and state and local governments in return for their scholarship. Continue reading

3 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Producing Real Solutions for Government

Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows tasks that typically require human intelligence to be completed at machine speed. For government agencies, this means that they can make better use of the troves of data they hold for daily decision making, strategic planning, and citizen service.

Protecting the Bat Population

Bats are a critical part of the natural ecosystems as pollinators and in their role of natural insect extermination. However, many bats are at risk due to habitat loss. When they lose their natural habitat, many take to bridges as a new home, causing potential damage and even posing health hazards.

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Agility. Enabled by Agile.

Agility has been a key attribute for success over the past year and a half. Everyone had to quickly adapt in their personal and professional lives to do things in new ways to keep business and society running. Even the great bureaucracy of government found itself pivoting and quickly changing "how it's always been done" to meet the needs of the day. This should not end with the return to what feels like pre-pandemic normal. In the form of Agile methodology, Agility will play a huge role in the government's ability to continue the fast-forwarded digital push as a result of the pandemic.

Just as government pushed agencies to try Cloud with the "Cloud First" initiative, some are suggesting the same approach for Agile. An "Agile-First" evolution would have a huge impact on IT modernization efforts, accelerating the move from legacy processes and technology to a modern digital approach. The response to COVID-19 showed that the government can move quickly in changing how they do work (across all areas of government). An Agile-first "mandate" could institutionalize that speed and make it the rule rather than the exception.

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Using AI to Modernize Old Techniques

Artificial Intelligence is being implemented across government to modernize and automate traditional manual processes. For many organizations, this means taking paper-based, tedious, error-prone tasks and turning them over to a machine for automated completion. Beyond using AI to hand off tasks best completed by machines -- those that are rote and repetitive -- agencies are also looking at ways to introduce the technology into already complex human-driven activities to make them even more effective and efficient.

Researchers at Dartmouth College's Department of Computer Science have taken a technique that proved valuable in WWII and applied AI to extend the usefulness of the method. A canary trap is a technique that plants different instances of false information in documents. If one of those documents is leaked, the canary will "sing," identifying the leaker. For example, in WWII British intelligence agents planted false documents on a corpse to trick Nazi Germany into preparing for an assault on Greece while the Allies invaded Sicily. The team at Dartmouth created a modern version, WE-FORGE, that plants different instances of false information in documents. The process is relatively simple when creating a small number of variations in a handful of documents, but to extend it to large scientific or technical documents, AI is essential. WE-FORGE uses natural language processing to generate multiple fake files that are believable yet incorrect.

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Inside President Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan is far-reaching, impacting the way we manage, use, and maintain our nation's critical infrastructure. It also has a considerable impact on the job opportunities available in private companies and government agencies at all levels.

 

  • Transportation spending is focused not only on improving existing roads and bridges but paving the way for clean energy and modern transit systems¬† to include electric vehicles, Amtrak repairs, and airport and waterway improvements.
  • Housing and community spending is focused on retrofitting older buildings to be more energy-efficient. Schools also get funding for upgrades and new construction.. Water systems and electrical grids are also being funded for safety and environmental upgrades. For communities at large, $100 billion is earmarked to improve broadband connectivity.
  • Improving care for the elderly and disabled is also a focus of the funding, with $400 billion dedicated to improving wages for caregivers and improving access to care and care facilities.

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