Newly sworn-in Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel must guide the Department of Defense through a few key challenges to better secure the nation’s cyber networks. His focus at the Pentagon should be on these four key areas.
In January, reports surfaced that Cyber Command will increase personnel from 900 to 4,900. While this is an important capacity-building step, it also presents two challenges:
First, Hagel must specify the roles and responsibilities for these new positions. Only then can the Defense department understand the skill-sets required and identify the individuals needed to achieve its objectives.
After that, the department can focus on attracting and retaining talent. This entails more than just competitive salaries and benefits. It means continuing to bridge a cultural divide – bringing in creative, tech-savvy individuals that generally are not attracted to a hierarchical military environment.
It also means striking the right balance in attracting the country’s top technical experts – some of whom may have criminal background complications stemming from previous hacking convictions – while ensuring individuals in sensitive positions do not pose a security threat.