Skip to primary navigation Skip to content
February 11, 2020

Chairwoman Johnson Opening Statement for Cybersecurity Workforce Hearing

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research & Technology is holding a hearing titled, “More Hires, Fewer Hacks: Developing the U.S. Cybersecurity Workforce.”

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) opening statement for the record is below.

Thank you Chairwoman Stevens and Ranking Member Baird for holding this morning’s hearing on developing our nation’s cybersecurity workforce and I want to welcome and thank the expert witnesses for their testimony.

We spend a lot of time in the Science, Space, and Technology Committee focusing on the challenges in developing a skilled STEM workforce for the 21st Century, and on exploring the ways in the which the Federal government can best address those challenges. While we need to develop the STEM pipeline across all fields, there are particular fields for which the gap between supply and demand is especially acute. Cybersecurity is one such field.

Technology alone will not mitigate the many risks that individuals, businesses, and governments face in cyber space. We need researchers who understand the risks as they evolve and can build new defensive tools. We need executives who understand what is needed to defend their own organizations. We need technicians monitoring the systems on a daily basis. And we need many other types of cybersecurity jobs in between. The fact is we need to educate and train individuals in cybersecurity at all levels, and it requires not just degrees but different types of certifications as well as continuing education for those already in the workforce. Finally, we need the general public to be well educated about cyber hygiene, starting in our elementary schools.

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, or NICE, was created under the Obama Administration to coordinate and expand Federal investments in a skilled cybersecurity workforce and a cybersecurity savvy public. Congress, led by this Committee, codified NICE in the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2013. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is tasked with leading NICE. NIST is not traditionally an agency that leads on workforce issues. It is, however, an agency that leads on cybersecurity standards for both the public and private sectors. With its unique and unsurpassed expertise in cybersecurity, NIST is the right agency to continue to lead efforts to develop a cybersecurity workforce for the nation.

The Science, Space, and Technology Committee has been enacting cybersecurity-focused legislation since 2002, and we are planning to move additional legislation this year. I look forward to continuing to collaborate across the aisle and across Committee lines to take a whole-of-government approach to cybersecurity, starting with the workforce.

In that regard, I look forward to hearing from today’s witnesses how the activities carried out under NICE can continue to be strengthened.