House Homeland Security panel dives into cyber workforce

The House Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity subpanel this afternoon will confront challenges in building the cybersecurity workforce, with an emphasis on the Homeland Security Department.

“Unfortunately, DHS’s issues are compounded by additional hiring challenges often felt by the federal government,” Rep. John Ratcliffe, the chairman of the subcommittee, will say in his prepared opening remarks. “DHS must work to overcome slow hiring processes and workforce supply and pipeline issues in order to build the essential workforce required to meet its cyber mission.”

Story Continued Below

Witnesses will offer up suggestions both narrow and wide, per their prepared testimony. Scott Montgomery, vice president and chief technical strategist at McAfee, will argue for expanded cyber scholarships, increased “cross pollination” between the private sector and government, and exploiting technological advancements. And the United States needs to think big, like it did after its “Sputnik moment” nearly 60 years ago when the Soviet Union launched the first artificial Earth satellite and the U.S. responded with a massive cash infusion toward science and math education, according to Frederick Chang, executive director of Southern Methodist University’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cybersecurity.

Meanwhile, the full Homeland Security Committee today will again tackle legislation meant to upgrade the exchange of digital threat information regarding U.S. ports. The port bill — which will be taken up during a series of bill markups — passed in the House last year but didn’t advance in the Senate. It would require DHS to write voluntary guidelines for reporting port-related cybersecurity risks and to develop a maritime cybersecurity risk model, among other provisions. Rep. Norma Torres is the lead sponsor of the measure.

HAPPY THURSDAY and welcome to Morning Cybersecurity! As for this, no thank you. Send your thoughts, feedback and especially tips to, and be sure to follow @timstarks, @POLITICOPro, and @MorningCybersec. Full team info below.

RUSSIA’S LINKS TO FB ADS — “Facebook accounts with apparent Russian ties purchased about $150,000 in political ads aimed at American voters during key periods of the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new analysis released Wednesday by the social networking company,” POLITICO’s Darren Samuelsohn reports. “The internal Facebook findings — which it said in a blog post it had already turned over to U.S. authorities — comes as the Silicon Valley giant faces intense scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees concerned about how both real internet trolls and fake news bots preyed on U.S. voters during last year’s election.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called the news “deeply disturbing,” adding that “the report by Facebook raises additional questions, including whether other platforms were similarly the subject of paid Russian interference, and whether geographic or other targeting reflects any potential coordination with the Trump campaign or other U.S. persons.” Sen. Mark Warner, Schiff’s Senate counterpart, has been raising the same questions.


Continue reading…