Joining Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson at the Sacramento Study Mission Conference today, Congressman Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) laid out a plan to collaborate with California's community college system and the Department of Homeland Security to train a much needed cybersecurity workforce here that could create jobs and thwart the mounting incidences of cyber terrorism that threaten our American way of life.
Lungren, who is Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies, said in his prepared remarks, "Two weeks ago Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta awoke a lot of people when he warned of a "Cyber Pearl Harbor' attack from unseen enemies that could cripple our power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government in the blink of an eye. I can tell you that his concern about an attack is warranted and his recommendation that we move quickly to train and equip a cyber security workforce is necessary for national security."
"About 10 days ago we hosted a forum on cybersecurity needs at Folsom Lake College where we had one of the most respected authorities in the cybersecurity training field -- Alan Paller of the SANS (System Administration Networking and Security) Institute in Maryland. It became apparent during our discussions with Alan and others that the Sacramento Region is uniquely positioned to become a West Coast training center for a cybersecurity workforce for the future."
Paller told Lungren that Brookdale College in New Jersey already has developed curriculum toward producing cybersecurity workers. Lungren hopes such an existing pathway could be emulated here within the California community college system, ideally at Los Rios Community College campuses.
"I tell young people when I am out speaking that if they want a job for life they should enter the field of cybersecurity," Lungren said. "And I am here to tell Sacramento today that if they want a job-creating-vehicle for life, they should position themselves to feed that need. We have an ideal educational platform, a computer-savvy community and plenty of returning veterans. Community colleges are great at working with veterans and our vets come with built-in discipline and work ethic, patriotism and, in many cases, the necessary security clearances to work in this sensitive field."