Workforce

Touhill outlines skills he wants from IT workforce

Gregory Touhill

Newly tapped U.S. Chief Information Security Officer Greg Touhill plans to use his experience as a leader in Air Force cyber training programs for insight into the skillsets that would benefit the federal cybersecurity workforce.

He said those fundamental skills are creative thinking, the ability to speak foreign languages, mathematics, critical reading and writing, and a basic understanding of logic and philosophy.

"If we become too fixated on the technology itself and not think about the strategic impact of risk...we're missing the boat," Touhill said.

He added that he wants the next administration to understand that "our entire national prosperity is now interwoven with information technology."

However, he conceded that, with such a large and growing potential for breaches, the United States must balance managing risk and preserving civil liberties. And that starts with improving situational awareness and solidifying the workforce, Touhill said.

"Cybersecurity is a risk management issue that needs to be on the agenda in every room," he added. "Most of the time, the adversary is not using those super-secret zero-day exploits. They're just opening up doors that have been left unlocked."

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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