Congress funds future digital defenders

National Plan for Information Systems Protection

A program to train the next generation of federal cyberspace workers cleared

a major hurdle this month.

Congress approved the full funding request this month for a program

that will provide scholarship money to students pursuing degrees in information

security. In exchange, the scholarship recipients will work at federal agencies

after graduation.

The final amount of $11.2 million, contained in the Veterans Affairs-Housing

and Urban Development appropriations bill, will go to the National Science

Foundation for the administration's Scholarship for Service program. It

is part of the larger Federal Cyber Services initiative proposed by President

Clinton in the National Plan for Information Systems Protection in January.

NSF will work with universities and colleges to develop appropriate

coursework and programs for students. The agency also will work with the

Office of Personnel Management to move those students into agencies that

are searching to fill much-needed security positions.

After holding up the program for more than a month to wait for funding,

NSF plans to release its request for grants to the universities this week,

said Shirley Malia, program director for the Federal Cyber Services at the

Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office.

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