April 6, 2017

Cyber Workforce Incubator

Categories: Publications

The U.S. Government has an ongoing need to employ top experts in cybersecurity, data science, and other technology domains. Yet the most qualified professionals in these fields are often wary of taking jobs at bureaucratic agencies in Washington D.C., preferring instead to work for more lucrative and innovative companies in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs.

To address this challenge, the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity has envisioned a new program, a Cyber Workforce Incubator, that will enable top technologists from Silicon Valley to work for the federal government for one- or two-year terms. Through this program, technology professionals would receive fast-tracked security clearances, and would be able to work for the Department of Defense and other agencies while remaining on the West Coast, where they can remain tapped in to the culture and innovations of the tech industry.

Senior Advisor Jesse Goldhammer, Faculty Director Steve Weber, and Executive Director Betsy Cooper published a new white paper that outlines the workforce challenges facing the government, and details the opportunity to create a Cyber Workforce Incubator that will bridge industry and government. “A new, nimble, and innovative not-for-profit Cyber Workforce Incubator would allow the West Coast’s best technologists to work on national security challenges without degrading their cutting-edge technical skills or requiring them to give up their livelihoods, work cultures, or social networks,” the paper explains. “By overcoming a manageable number of geographic and bureaucratic hurdles, such an incubator can help the US government to solve some of its toughest technical innovation challenges, recruit top talent, build a strong reputation, and lay the groundwork for long-term, private-sector cyber technology innovation partnership that will benefit the nation for generations.”

In addition to the white paper, Weber, Goldhammer, and Cooper submitted written testimony to the  U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Information Technology (part of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform), in which they expressed the need for the Cyber Workforce Incubator program to ensure that the Department of Defense and other agencies remain on the cutting edge of technology.

“Today, the nation’s most talented cyber technologists face a stark choice between private- and public-sector employment,” the authors wrote in their testimony. “This choice does not serve the nation well, and the costs to national security are mounting as technology evolves and the gap between the private- and public-sector workplace experiences widens. CWI provides the US government with a low-risk, high-impact, and organizationally proven way to leverage top talent without also needing to massively restructure its own work environment, incentives, and systems. We urge the Committee to consider this model as a way to begin closing this particular aspect of the cybersecurity workforce talent gap.”

You can download the white paper and testimony below. For more information about the Cyber Workforce Incubator, email cltc@berkeley.edu.

Download the Cyber Workforce Incubator White Paper

Download the House Committee Testimony