Recapping last week's Google D.C. Talk on cybersecurity

To help spark ideas and stimulate discussion following the release of the President's cyberspace policy review, last Friday we teamed up with the Center for a New American Security to bring together a panel of experts representing government, military, and industry for a Google D.C. Talk, "Developing a National Cybersecurity Strategy."

Included in the President's action plan is the goal of developing a "strategy to expand and train the workforce, including attracting and retaining cybersecurity expertise in the Federal government" -- a key point we discussed during Friday's event. Philip Reitinger of the Department of Homeland Security noted that we need to expand the talent pool, which will likely require getting young people excited about the possibilities of working in IT.

I'm convinced that there should be a long-term focus on educating and cultivating future computer scientists (including putting cybersecurity in the curriculum at every step). Students are introduced to foreign languages as early as grammar school -- why not also introduce them to the basics of code?

Beyond K-12, we should expand programs like the National Science Foundation's Scholarship For Service, which provides support to undergraduate and graduate students focusing on information assurance. Thoughtful investments in programs that support computer science education today will help us to build a strong pipeline for the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

The panel also discussed the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, which some had argued would give the President the authority to shut down the Internet. Ellen Doneski, Chief of Staff for the Senate Commerce Committee, addressed these concerns head-on and explained that the language in the bill will be rewritten with input from stakeholders.

Check out video from the event to see what our panelists had to say: