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National Security Jobs To Rival Silicon Valley Over the Next 10 Years? 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the government's-digital-transition dept.
AHuxley writes "The Capital reports on a new cyber curriculum at a Maryland high school to feed the ever growing needs of the NSA and Cyber Command. A quote from Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) about job growth in the local national security sector stands out: '... in 10 years, there are going to be more tech jobs than Silicon Valley.' Could the new funding for the expansion of the National Security Agency and the Army's new Cyber Command be the next big growth area for the US?"
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National Security Jobs To Rival Silicon Valley Over the Next 10 Years?

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  • Getting citizens excited about spying on each other.. Great.. Just a natural extension of BigBrother TV shows where we "spy" on house inhabitants, etc. etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Oh, but lets execute all members of wikileaks.

      • I don't necessarily disagree with your ultimate point. However, governments very much do have valid things to hide at times.

        • by Bratmon (1649855)

          I don't necessarily disagree with your ultimate point. However, governments very much do have valid things to hide at times.

          So do private citizens.

          • by EdIII (1114411)

            Yeah..... but what is valid? Who determines that?

            If you are own your own property, or your own home, your desire to have privacy is inherently valid. Privacy and Anonymity are a human right. It is essential to freedom. Even if you want some sort of Utopian society where everything is open and shared, you still need to respect the individual that wants their privacy and recognize that is their right.

            The challenge is that we have this erroneous belief that government determines our rights. It doesn't. It

            • The challenge is that we have this erroneous belief that government determines our rights. It doesn't. It is supposed to provide *limitations* and enumerate its own rights. The Bill of Rights was a bad idea. We should have just agreed that we have the right to do ANYTHING. Flipped it on its head. Then the government should have come in and said, "Oh you can't say anything that would put the public in immediate danger like yelling fire! in a public space". Stuff like that.

              I think you're missing the problem. It doesn't matter what the constitution says if they don't follow it.

              It isn't that you need to set out a document that properly enumerates the limitations on government power. I mean you do, but we've more or less done that. Perhaps some of the language could be made more clear.

              The real problem is that if the government is allowed to ignore what the constitution says or interpret it to mean something else because it's politically expedient then you're on the path to perdi

              • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

                The check to the three branches is meant to be the 'will of the people', they expected if government failed we would do much as they had and revolt. However many things have happened that they could never think of... For one they had no idea how little one person with a gun (nor how military and 'civilian' guns could get so far apart) could do in a modern world. Second they didn't realize that the american civil war would ever happen. States were meant to be able to leave the union at the will of the people

            • by khallow (566160)

              The Bill of Rights was a bad idea. We should have just agreed that we have the right to do ANYTHING.

              Why? The discussion about citizen rights would be framed this way anyway. It's a function of who makes the argument, not how rights were implemented.

            • by Midajo (654520)
              This elegant, though non-trivial, fix is possibly the most insightful thing I've read on Slashdot. Thank you.
    • Who's going to teach all these 'soldiers of the cyber command'? Almost every state is getting rid of teachers en mass and making teaching a less desirable field to get into. Where are these cyber soldiers coming from?
      • Almost every state is getting rid of teachers en mass and making teaching a less desirable field to get into. Where are these cyber soldiers coming from?

        Considering that it's going to be a series of high school classes ... it doesn't matter because this is nothing more than a photo op. Politicians showing that they're "doing something" about "the threat".

        The problem is NOT that we don't have people who understand security.

        The problem is that those people's BOSSES do not care about security until AFTER someo

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        "Where are these cyber soldiers coming from?"

        Overseas: they'll outsource this just like they've outsourced every other programming or computer related job. Only jobs left for IT/CS grads is $10/hr GeekSquad.
        • No they won't, because the jobs will all require citizenship. Even those citizens that were naturalized have a very difficult time getting the clearances they need, and you can forget it if you have family members of other citizenship (or are married to a foreigner).

      • by EdIII (1114411)

        Read Fahrenheit 451.

        Teach? That's extreme wishful thinking.

        This is going to be an indoctrination. Very similar to bootcamp. These soldiers will be broken down mentally and then rebuilt. What you learn in College or some sort of trade school rarely prepares you for the real world anyways. I am sure they will teach some basics, but the real meat will be the psychological indoctrination. Afterwards they will put them into production and they will receive hands on training.

        How else are you going to get th

      • by mrbcs (737902)
        Old AOL users?
    • by kanto (1851816)

      Nah, this is 8 seasons of Jack Bauer doing the "right" thing in every wrong way conceivable. When faced with a moral dilemma our brave hero always had to weigh the end result against zapping someone's nuts for intel. Tellingly "hacking" to get info on the general public never raised any issues, just meant more work for that cute nerdy chick.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by peragrin (659227)

      um, have you seen facebook entries.

      citizens don't have to spy on each other they will gladly tell you everything for a little perceived attention.

    • by Stregano (1285764)
      Somebody is still bitter that they did not get one of those cool spy kits when he was a kid
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone else think this whole "cyber" thing has gotten out of hand? Someone needs to tell them that if they want to be taken seriously, they shouldn't use such a buzzword.

    Why do a whole curriculum? The only steps should be:
    1. Remove all mission critical systems from the internet.
    2. Remove all other systems that do not require the internet from the internet.
    3. Do not allow employees to take their non-internet laptops and use the internet from home.
    4. Do not allow employees to use removable media.
    5. Prefe

    • Exactly, especially step 1. "Cyber War" isn't a war if we simply have all truly critical things offline.
      • by blair1q (305137)

        Until the late 50s, all truly critical cybernetic things were offline.

        • by DCFusor (1763438)
          And later, when I worked in the NMIC, part of the WMCCS (war room). We had a teletype that printed out stuff from the military secure satellite system (DSCS) and a Sargent who sat there, read it, and typed it into another teletype.
          .

          At the time, I thought it pretty dumb. Turns out I was dumb I guess. No big surprise there, I was young then too.
          .

          Here's the deal now -- the military has bought into the COTS stuff all the way. They get the internet "free" in essence, avoiding having to build out a simila

          • by blair1q (305137)

            MS's problem is what you say. Their remote-execution stack is still basically their first-cut of the design.

            They need to rip it out and redo it from the nuts up, taking into account that at some level they'll have to go stock-standard into internet and HTML protocols.

            Or we can just all start using Android and Ubuntu and leave MS behind. As recently as two years ago I thought such a thing would be impossible, but now, not so much. The apps that are microsoft-only are showing age and being replaced by alte

    • Does anyone else think this whole "cyber" thing has gotten out of hand? Someone needs to tell them that if they want to be taken seriously, they shouldn't use such a buzzword.

      I think that's a cyberiffic idea!

    • by siddesu (698447)

      It is a replay from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Back then, the government was ridiculously exaggerating the Soviet threat to fuel cash into nuclear weapons. Some estimates say the total amount of nukes produced exceeded a reasonable deterrent 50 or 60 times. The huge pile of money spent on that was, of course, money wasted -- and that doesn't begin to include the infrastructure costs around those warheads.

      The "cyber" threat is the history repeating, this time as a farce -- the threat from this "cyber warfare" is

    • I'm surprised you haven't been subjected to redicule for your title yet.

    • by jmcvetta (153563)

      1. Remove all mission critical systems from the internet.

      This is already a goal of all reasonable security folks. However it's harder to implement than to talk about.

      2. Remove all other systems that do not require the internet from the internet.

      Good luck with that, and let us know how it works out for you.

      3. Do not allow employees to take their non-internet laptops and use the internet from home.

      Why bother giving them laptops if they can't take them anywhere? Save some cash, make employees do their sensitive work at the office. This will be a big political struggle, of course, as many people holding powerful positions within an institution will resent the restriction of their working freedom.

      4. Do not allow employees to use removable media.

      I've never heard of an organization

    • Does anyone else think this whole "cyber" thing has gotten out of hand? Someone needs to tell them that if they want to be taken seriously, they shouldn't use such a buzzword.

      Uh k... here's your 15 min, got a better buzzword?

      -AI

  • by alexmin (938677) on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:22PM (#35249758)

    We do realize that national security "jobs" do not produce anything, don't we?

    • It does if you export instability and hysteria worldwide. Worked (well, works) exceedingly well for weapons.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      That's not necessarily true.

      NSA has a technology transfer program [nsa.gov].

      I leave it as an exercise to the googler to find out what things you're currently using that came from their labs.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        True, but it's a very, very inefficient way to innovate. Any market-oriented system will kick its ass. Basically it Soviet-style innovation.

    • That's the beauty of government jobs. Since they don't produce anything of value, people can't not buy them, and thus the demand is always there.

      That's why we have lots of lawyers, bureaucrats, business analysts...

      It's the ultimate job security.

      • The idea that government jobs are incapable of producing anything of value is nonsense, albeit oft repeated. Nothing magically makes a person paid in tax dollars incapable of producing something that their private sector counterpart could...

        Now, as an empirical matter, there are a number of specific instances where(because of some combination of deadweight losses from taxation, poor incentive structures, lack of competition, etc.) you can make the case that state employees are quite inefficient, or that
        • If everyone has a government job, and they pay taxes to the government, then where does the money come from to pay their salaries? After all, you don't pay 100 percent of your salary back to make up for your wage. Ideally you save some of it, or invest it in property, or pay for your kids food and clothing. Its simple algebra. You cannot support a society filled with government jobs unless your society is out plundering and setting up colonies. Really, you need to produce something you can trade for somethi
          • The system is not closed. You make money buy selling stuff to other countries. Still, it's not like anyone is ever advocating for "100%" government jobs (outside of the old failed soviet states perhaps). Just pointing out the flaw in your logic. And if you want to look big picture the concept of money is just a shared dream; we can't really "create" wealth, we're just playing with numbers in a very sophisticated barter system.
            • There are no flaws in my logic. Quantifier : I said if "Everyone" has a government job then it is so. That's the way the US is going. Its not good to have more government jobs, because not only does that mean a bigger government (and thus more taxes to support it) it also means less workforce in actual production. Its better to have a healthy industry producing products that are exchanged for money and then other products we need. Yes, we are using a sophisticated barter system. However, wealth is created t
              • No, your logic is flawed. There is nothing inherently broken (economically) in a closed system were all employment for a single entity that also taxed. Your issue is that you fail to understand the concept of money, which is just an adjunct to the underlying financial system, and whose value is not fixed. Go study some economics. Now, as to your other point about the inherent value, and ease of duplication of non-physical goods, I share your concern. Our economic system is not based around the concept that
                • Money's value is not fixed, but a closed system as described can only survive if it literally is a true communism which would include selflessness amongst the people. Unfortunately, people accumulate wealth, some better than others, and eventually in a closed system they would be the only ones with money. Some would be savers, some would be spenders. Overall the money would flow to a group of people who are less than majority, and they would be getting taxed more or less the same as everyone else. Sure, mon
          • by plopez (54068)

            Straw man. Everyone having a government job is not the question. O.P. talked about not all gov't jobs being a waste. It depends on the job and what it does. If a gov't job or program facilitates the private sector or protects a precious resource it is worth it. The question becomes, "What is the payoff?" It there is a good payoff, such as providing a needed public utility to facilitate private companies or a pooled resource such as education then it is good. If the payoff is poor then perhaps it shouldn't b

          • If everyone has a government job, everyone does pay 100% of their salary back to the government. If everyone has a government job, there's nobody else to give the money to.
        • It's not a matter of if they work hard or not.

          It's that they don't produce much of value. Many lawyers work very hard. So do many bankers and financial planners and accountants... they just don't produce anything and rely largely on the government to make laws to give them work.

          Much like the police, prison guards, lawyers... and the war on drugs. They work very hard dealing with a lot of crap. Is society any better off for the work they do? Nope.

          Those are the real unproductive areas of the public secto

          • As I say... it's hard giving people what they want. That's why government loves leaving that to the private sector.

            But they reserve all the endless goals for themselves so they funnel any amount of money into endless job creation programs for themselves that produce nothing.

            Can you ever have enough security?

            Kind of like education which stopped being about educating kids long ago. It's now a self serving system for bureaucrats, committees, teacher unions...

            I mean... can you ever have enough education...
            and

        • by Anonymous Coward

          "Nothing magically makes a person paid in tax dollars incapable of producing something that their private sector counterpart could..."

          Yes, it does, it is called "objectives". Even companies change radically when they change their objectives, their vision. People try to improve results, and results are compared with objectives. It is different if you ask yourself "Are we making people lives simpler, easier or cheaper?" or "Are we spying every single person on America?"

          You know in the private sector your obje

    • What, you mean like the internet?
    • Im glad someone said it. Look at Greece. Their employment was mostly filled with Government jobs. Then, the money ran out to pay people and there were riots in the streets over pensions and wages being reduced or dissolved. A society that only has government jobs ends up burning itself out of capital.
    • by mtthws (572660)
      What do you propose then? Historically defense has been where any number of the innovations we currently take for advantage came from. It is often times extremely hard to value what they produce, especially from highly secretive portions of it, but they are there. The NSA has been working with colleges for years to beef up their security education. Now they probably only get a fraction of the graduates that go through these programs. How do you think the companies that get the remainder feel about gett
    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>We do realize that national security "jobs" do not produce anything, don't we?

      Amen. It's not a "growth area" in the economic sense of the word when the government expands the jobs it is hiring for. Those are illusory jobs, that will vanish when the government funding dries up.

      People (especially those in Wisconsin) need to realize that government funded jobs are not the solution to our current unemployment crisis.

    • Of course they produce things. WikiLeaks would have no material if national security didn't produce anything.

  • Growth increases national wealth. Security expenditures never do that. At best they consume a portion of the national wealth in order to protect the remainder from enemies. These, of course, won't even do that.

    • by blair1q (305137) on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:38PM (#35249890) Journal

      Without security, you're not going to grow very much before the next guy realizes he can grow by taking what's yours instead of inventing his own.

      • by pipatron (966506)
        I thought you had plenty of guns in the US.
      • by plopez (54068)

        You have it backwards. Without a strong economy you can't support a strong military/security forces. If security forces cause a drain on an economy the economy eventually falters and then both the security forces and the economy weaken.

      • by sjames (1099)

        True, without adequate security. However, any amount beyond adequate is simply a waste. Naturally there is a margin for error that must be covered but growing the NSA to exceed Silicon Valley is way beyond that!

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:25PM (#35249788)

    No, national security jobs do not produce goods or services. If they're next big thing, they'll probably be the last big thing too.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      That's right. DARPA [wikipedia.org] never produced anything of value [wikipedia.org].

      • Most of the people who made those developments did not actually work for DARPA. They worked for other organizations that received funding from DARPA. This is a subtle but critical difference.
        • DARPA (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:53PM (#35249996) Homepage Journal
          I had a DARPA contract during my tenure at Pixar, before we got our first film contract. The purpose was to create economic demand for computer graphics hardware by making new advances in image-processing software, so that the U.S. would have that technology if it needed it for wartime. So, it ended up making live-action and old cel animated films look better, but served the economic purpose desired by DoD.
          • Unfortunately, I think that a lot of more recent government funding has moved away from things that are useful to industry. Contracts I've worked on have pretty much been a matter of pouring money down a rat hole. Perhaps reading through the DARPA solicitations would show what I mean. At first blush many of them look good, but dig deeper and many make no friggin' sense, if they're in an area that you're knowledgeable in. Plus the rewarding of contracts is highly political (in a lucrative-revolving-door

        • by blair1q (305137)

          The only difference is that DARPA didn't have a mandate to keep the work secret.

          Most of this new cyber-security work will be done by contracted projects as well.

          And some of it will result in things like enhanced encryption (like the new SHA-2 algorithm) that we can all take advantage of.

  • If the industry protecting our electronic assets is larger than the industry creating said assets, doesn't that raise a red flag that maybe we're doing something wrong in implementation?

  • ...military dictatorship as the American Way into the future (Starship Troopers [imdb.com] style), then yes.

    Here's hoping the Internet will rather make the people(s) call in unison for democratic ways and peaceful international relations.
    • While there are certainly exceptions, the economics of IT spending make it fairly likely that at least a substantial minority of the available geek talent will be eating right out of the state's hand.

      Jobs requiring security clearances(whether directly on the federal payroll, or as one of the legions of subcontracted spooks) are some of the few that are resistant to the ideological free-trade enthusiasts, H1Bs, and assorted other economic and political forces that have been chipping away at the real incom
  • by jmcvetta (153563) on Friday February 18, 2011 @07:05PM (#35250084)

    The problem I see here is, that whereas Silly Valley jobs create wealth (and knowledge, infrastructure, etc) for the nation, defense jobs only consume wealth. Maybe that's part of the plan, tho... If we bankrupt the country with lavish expenditure on an oppressive security apparatus, we may just get rid of all our enemies. We'll no longer have wealth for anyone to envy, global influence for anyone to resent, or freedom for anyone to hate. Good plan, right?

    • by hguorbray (967940)
      >>defense jobs only consume wealth

      Actually, in this case they also reduce our privacy and personal freedoms...but it will keep a few more IT contractor jobs in the US.

      I think the terrorists/government have both won. Win/Win, we lose.

      I'm just sayin'
    • It might not be "creation" of wealth, but prevention of wealth destruction is real. How much would it cost for the nation's banks or stock markets to go down for even one day? Then factor in the overall lost deals and reputation over the future. That's what preventing it is worth.

      Spending some of our gold to hire guards to guard our giant pile of gold isn't a complete waste of gold. The guards may not make the pile bigger, but they help prevent it from getting massively smaller. And you're naive if you thin

    • Whereas government jobs create knowledge and infrastructure, Silicon Valley mostly produces stock bubbles with "Step 2. ????" business plans.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Friday February 18, 2011 @07:06PM (#35250096)
    ...I feel less secure. It's probably just me.
  • No chance of becoming independently wealth, just quite literally a long term government job, with little real chance of advancement.

    No thank you.

    • by r00t (33219)

      Gee, it's the same as when you join any decent-sized corporation. I'm not seeing a difference.

      Joining a start-up, or even founding one, rarely works out better. Normally it's worse. At the end, your paycheck goes missing.

      Your IPO dreams are like the dreams of a high school kid who wants to be a movie star, pop star, or sports star. In theory it could happen. You could also win the lottery. Are you going to grow old chasing start-up hopes, or are you going to do the rational thing?

  • how good is the curriculum? book based or based on real world systems?

    How much B.S will be in the jobs? will it be tell people over and over to update the old app that is easy to hack? Tell others that you need to move to system X?

    A lot of Security holes come from old apps and over locked down systems that are by passed to get work down other then waiting for paper work to get the lock down set in the right way.

    Will the jobs be good and paper work mess where you can't do any real work with out braking a law

  • One big thing that will be missing: cultural diversity. SV attracts a lot of people because it is one of the (few) places in America that is richly culturally diverse. NSA jobs are, by law, all US citizens - and in practice, 99% are filled by white males.
    • I don't want to be at a place where the Indians eat lunch together, the Chinese eat lunch together, and the few remaining people feel like outsiders in their own country.

      I also like being able to reliably tell when somebody is pleased, pissed off, joking, or whatever. I can't do that very well across cultures.

      • by erice (13380)

        Sounds like you need to work for better companies. Every company I have worked for in the last 13 years has been multi-cultural and they all mixed even at lunch time. Of course, these were all startups. I would guess that you are employed by a much larger, more regimented company.

  • There was an article (mentioned here on slashdot?) that debunked the common story it was visionaries like Hewlett, Packard, Noyce, Moore and others that created Silicon Valley. Which they did but at government expense, back in those early days (1950s, 1960s) 80% of semiconductor sales were to military. Somewhat hard to believe but it makes sense with DOD spending on "space age" electronics plus all the subcontractors and other companies to support the big boys. So.... with ever increasing spending on natio
    • by erice (13380)

      You are speaking of a time when Sunnyvale was still 100% orchards. National security expenditures may create a new "Silicon Valley" as it was in the earliest days. But if you want anything near the scale and economic impact of Silicon Valley of the last few decades, you will have to achieve large scale civilian use of the technology. Sponging off the taxes paid by others will never be enough.

      It is not even clear that civilian use of the technology will be enough. Computers took off because selling a com

  • I have a good idea where the federal budget could be cut....

  • Then there'll be nothing in the U.S. to CyberProtect - anything worthwhile will be in China or India.

    Stop the madness on this endless homeland security expansion. Companies can take care of themselves.

  • ,,,it must be time for a new government.

    Anybody care to compute the ratio of terrorists to terrorist hunters?

    But hey, if you can't find 'em, make 'em.
  • Now all the bright young tech minds have to work for the national security state, rather than the real economy. It's losing game. The Soviets devolved to this just before they crumbled. When we crumble, I only hope we do it as peacefully as they did.
  • Welcome in the ever growing militarist America. First it was WWII, the Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, War on Terrorism and now the Cyberwar. See also Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] for a more complete list. Ask your self why the budget for the military is continuing to rise year after year and never returns down even to the level at the Cold War. Ask your self why America continuing to have a standing army of no less then 1,4 Million active personnel and another 1,4 Million in reserve.

    For further reverence please

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