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Kaine leads effort to boost cybersecurity education in JROTC

U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and David Perdue (R-GA), both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and U.S. Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, which leads the House’s cybersecurity efforts, sent a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis urging him to direct the Military Departments to incorporate cybersecurity into the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) curricula for high school students.

tim kaineWhile the services incorporate some elements of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the JROTC program, cybersecurity is not a curriculum requirement. There is a shortage of professionals working to protect critical infrastructure from cyber threats and an urgent need to fill these high-skilled, good-paying jobs. The Members are urging the Department of Defense (DoD) to teach JROTC students nationwide about important cyber topics, which will increase exposure to cyber careers and ultimately strengthen the cyber workforce pipeline.  In Virginia, there are 136 JROTC units.

“The United States currently suffers from a shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals needed to defend the nation’s economic and national security,” wrote the Members.  “Given the need to inspire young people to pursue cybersecurity careers, we believe that the addition of cybersecurity to the JROTC curricula would boost student interest in this critical field.”

“The Air Force Association is committed to doing all we can to develop a cadre of American youth with the technical skills and citizenship needed to help our nation confront the very serious cyber security challenges we face,” said Brig. Gen. Bernie Skoch (USAF, Ret.), National Commissioner of the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot Program.  “That is why we created CyberPatriot, and that is why we support the Members’ efforts to include cybersecurity in JROTC curricula.”

Kaine and Perdue, who have led bipartisan efforts in the Senate to strengthen cybersecurity education, have jointly introduced the DoD Cyber Scholarship Program Act that was included in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.




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