Kiersten E. Todt, chief of staff (COS) at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), detailed some of the ways the agency is recruiting people and what they are looking for in possible candidates and ways they can expand in the future.

Todt stated that they are looking to recruit people from diverse educational and technical backgrounds, so that different and fresh ideas can be brought into government work.

“When we’re talking cybersecurity workforce, what is the cybersecurity workforce, and what is the talent that’s there? And when we talk about diversity, it’s not just diversity across traits, but it’s really diversity of thinking,” Todt said at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit on Sept. 8.

“So, we’re looking at recruiting and attracting and retaining talent from all disciplines, looking at experts, not just in engineering, math, and science, but diversity of thinking from sociology, psychology, and history,” said Todt. “We’re also launching a neuro diversity initiative to bring in different ways of thinking because cybersecurity as we all know, is about problem solving and building solutions.”

Todt also focused on the need to introduce cybersecurity to younger generations even going into the K-12 school system with various programs with cybersecurity at the heart of those programs.

“So, we have something called the Cybersecurity Education Training Assistance (CITA) Program grant, we’re working with organizations like that are creating and producing no cost curriculum for K through 12,” said Todt

“We’re starting to bring in that accessibility that knowledge awareness of what cybersecurity is at a young age because… cybersecurity is not just a standard issue. It is about bringing in multiple aptitudes, and it’s so important to start identifying the range of aptitudes that are necessary and welcome in this space at a young age so kids can see themselves in this space,” said Todt.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.