June 02, 2016

Hirono Provisions Will Strengthen STEM Pipeline, Cyber Workforce

Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, included a number of provisions to grow and support Hawaii’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce in the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act.

One provision would require the U.S. intelligence community to evaluate existing intelligence community academic programs that grow and diversify the cyber workforce, including the National Security Agency’s National Centers of Excellence in Cyber Defense program. The University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Hawaii-West Oahu, and Honolulu Community College are designated as Centers of Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

“The University of Hawaii-West Oahu was recently recognized as one of the top National Centers of Excellence in Cyber Defense in the nation, and I will continue to support programs like this one that grow our cyber workforce,” said Senator Hirono. “We need a well-trained and effective cyber workforce to combat the threats we face, and I will continue to push for measures that will grow a diverse STEM pipeline for these critical jobs.”

Another Hirono provision would promote STEM outreach and recruiting efforts across the U.S. intelligence community by requiring the Director of National Intelligence to provide a five-year investment strategy for outreach and recruiting efforts to meet STEM employment goals. It would also require all intelligence agencies to submit detailed plans to support this strategy, including budget justification documents for the next five fiscal years.

“Intelligence agencies are currently unable to tell me how much money they are spending on efforts to reach out to and hire qualified STEM candidates, which tells me that there is no underlying strategy guiding these efforts,” Senator Hirono continued. “Requiring intelligence agencies to approach these efforts strategically and to break out these costs in future budget documents will help intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency in Hawaii seek out and attract qualified STEM candidates.”