Cybercorps to extend to states

The White House's national strategy to protect cyberspace, scheduled for release in September, will contain a provision that extends a federal scholarship-for-service program to the state level, said Richard Clarke, cybersecurity adviser to President Bush.

The Federal Cyber Service program provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students studying computer security in exchange for two years of federal service. The first group of students is nearly finished with their first year in the program.

Six universities — the University of Tulsa, Carnegie Mellon University, the Naval Postgraduate University, Iowa State University, the University of Idaho and Purdue University — have received scholarship money. Currently, 66 students ages 20 to 64 participate in the program.

The cybercorps is important because the government does not have enough trained experts to protect federal systems, Clarke said, speaking July 22 at the 2002 Cyber Corps Symposium at the University of Tulsa. "We will fight a future cyberwar," Clarke said. "Right now we are not in good shape." The nation is dependent on cyberspace, which opens up vulnerabilities that need to be fixed, he said.

Recognizing that state and local agencies also need trained professionals to protect their networks, the cybersecurity strategy "calls upon state governments to create a state cybercorps," Clarke said.

Clarke would not reveal additional details of the cybersecurity strategy.

The Cyber Service program is scheduled to get a boost from the emergency supplemental funding bill scheduled for a vote in Congress this week. The bill contains $19 million to expand the Cyber Service program, Clarke said. "The president thought this was an emergency."

If the provision remains in the bill, the program would be extended to four additional schools in September.

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