2 May 2018 | by Laura Sehl


Daniel Stein, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Joins #CyberSmart 2018 Lineup

Daniel Stein, Branch Chief of Cybersecurity Education and Awareness at the Department of Homeland Security in the United States will be a featured Speaker at the upcoming CyberSmart 2018 Summit. This international perspective will offer delegates a snapshot of the efforts to increase cybersecurity workforce development efforts in the United States through education, training, and awareness. CyberNB spoke with Daniel Stein to learn what he hopes to share with delegates as a Keynote Speaker.

CyberNB: Why is cybersecurity education and awareness important to the Department of Homeland Security?

Stein: It is important to the Department of Homeland Security because we have a mission to safeguard and secure cyberspace. The cybersecurity mission scope of the Department of Homeland Security is predominantly the security of the .gov domain; however, the security of the Homeland at large is what DHS is all about.  Therefore, to promote the nation’s cybersecurity education, and how that education feeds its workforce development, is well within the range of Homeland Security’s mission.

CyberNB: How important is collaboration with industry, academia, and government when it comes to cybersecurity?

Stein: It’s vital. First of all, the Department of Homeland Security cannot accomplish everything it wants to by itself. We need industry, academia, and government throughout cybersecurity. We need industry because it is the leading job creator, as well as the owner of most critical infrastructure. Academia is producing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and many of those professionals are going to be hired into government and industry.  It is a combined effort and we cannot do it alone. We need industry, academia, and government.

 CyberNB: What are some of the trends you are seeing with respect to education in cybersecurity?

 Stein: One of the positive trends that we are seeing is students discovering that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) can actually be fun! In prior generations there was a perception that STEM was boring, but now through creative education the possibility that something is going to be waiting for these students once they graduate- something lucrative- is becoming exciting. Not only is it exciting to those who are already pursuing STEM, it is exciting for those students who have not even discovered that they have the capabilities to excel in that field. It is great to see the excitement on the faces of the students, but even more on the faces of the teachers who have finally discovered something that is going to excite their students.

I have also noticed a positive trend of students being more willing to participate in cybersecurity as a team sport.  The participation in competitions is increasing, not only at the college level but also at the high school and middle school levels.  It is a fun way for them to explore cybersecurity in a safe environment.

CyberNB: What is your role as Branch Chief in promoting cybersecurity education and awareness?

Stein: Our Branch is dedicated to building a strong and dependable pipeline of cybersecurity professionals entering the United States workforce. Education and awareness are wonderful on their own, but that is only part of the equation. It must lead toward growth in the cybersecurity workforce and filling the skills gaps. If there is one thing that I would say that we do, it is promoting cybersecurity workforce development for the entire nation.

CyberNB: What kind of programs does the Department of Homeland Security have in place to encourage more young people to learn about cybersecurity?

Stein: Our cybersecurity education training assistance program is a grant which is currently being given to the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City, Louisiana, which is integrating cyber concepts into middle and high school curricula. The curricula resources are available to download nationwide for any K-12 teacher. The goal is to stimulate interest in cybersecurity at a point that makes sense in that student’s career. It starts with awareness and knowledge; even kindergarteners are using IoT-enabled devices now. That is just the nature of our society. Kids must be aware that they are connected to a network. We think of the path to a cybersecurity career as an interstate where there are on-ramps and off-ramps, to enter and exit at a point that makes sense to each individual person.

CyberNB: We appreciate your willingness to travel to attend the CyberSmart Summit in New Brunswick! The summit theme this year is international collaboration in cybersecurity workforce development. Why do you believe international collaboration is important to developing the cybersecurity field?

Stein: Cyberspace is global, and we cannot expect that all of our citizens will only receive traffic from American sources. Therefore, collaboration from international allies is key to securing cyberspace.

CyberNB: What are some of the key messages you hope delegates will take away from what you will share about your work at the centre?

Stein: Most importantly, I hope that delegates will understand that while education is wonderful on its own, it must lead to graduates entering the cybersecurity workforce.  In the United States, we have over 200,000 open cybersecurity jobs. The skills gap in the workforce is not just a great opportunity for students; it is a nationwide security issue and these jobs must be filled.

CyberNB: What do you hope to take away from attending the CyberSmart Summit?

Stein: I am looking forward to opportunities to share successes and best practices, learn some of the best practices of other participants, and apply those lessons learned to help our programs move forward and succeed. I am excited and appreciate the opportunity to speak as a keynote and I am looking forward to attending.

CyberNB is a Special Operating Agency of Opportunities NB.

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