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University of Illinois-Led CIRI to Develop Cybersecurity Network Plan for DHS; Bryan Ware Quoted

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Bryan Ware
Bryan Ware Assistant Director CISA

The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI), a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign-led Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence, has received $2 million in funds from the DHS Science and Technology Directorate to devise a plan to help the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) build a national network of cybersecurity technical institutes.

CIRI will collaborate with the University of Tulsa, Purdue University and Auburn University to study and develop a strategy that employs an academic hub-and-spoke model to educate and train cybersecurity professionals, DHS said Friday.

"CISA sees the growing cybersecurity workforce shortage in the United States as a national security risk," said Bryan Ware, assistant director of cybersecurity at CISA. The award is in line with the agency's efforts aimed at reducing the cybersecurity workforce gap, he added. 

According to a report published by DHS and the Department of Commerce, 299 thousand active openings for cybersecurity jobs were recorded in 2017. The report also forecasts a cybersecurity workforce shortage of 1.8 million jobs in 2022.

“This is exactly the type of national need that the DHS Centers of Excellence network was established to help our nation address,” said Gia Harrigan, DHS S&T federal program manager for CIRI. “Building capacity to address critical workforce and education gaps across academia and the broader Homeland Security Enterprise is one of the things they do best.”