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Bennie T.
Democrat MS 2

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  • Critical Infrastructure Research and Development Advancement Act of 2014

    by Representative Bennie G. Thompson

    Posted on 2014-12-11

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    THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Senate amendment to H.R. 2952 that attaches the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act.

    For the Department of Homeland Security to be effective in its cybersecurity mission, it must have a workforce in place to meet this challenge. Yesterday, the House considered legislation to grant DHS special hiring authority to secure talent in the competitive cybersecurity employment marketplace.

    The measure before you today includes language, authored by the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Clarke), that requires DHS to develop and issue a comprehensive workforce strategy for the Department's cybersecurity missions, and includes a 5-year implementation plan and a 10-year projection of the cybersecurity workforce needs of the Department.

    Cybersecurity is a complex mission for the Department and requires a wide range of talent at all levels. Given the urgent nature of DHS' recruitment efforts, it is essential that the Department have this strategy in place.

    Secondly, the bill requires the Department to assess the readiness and capacity of its workforce to meet its cybersecurity missions.

    Lastly, the urgent need to fill critical national security positions often leads to an overreliance on contractors.

    To encourage students to come to work for the government in this vital arena, this legislation also directs DHS to develop a plan to create a cybersecurity fellowship program. Under such a program, DHS would pay a promising student's tuition in exchange for a commitment to serve for a fixed period of time at the Department in a cybersecurity position.

    For all these reasons, I urge my colleagues to vote for H.R. 2952, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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