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FBI short on info-security specialists. (Security Beat).

The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center--established in 1998 as a focal point of assessment, warning, investigation and response to terrorist threats or attacks--is having trouble finding enough information-technology security specialists to protect U.S. telecommunications systems.

"Our dilemma is this," H. Alexis Suggs, acting chief of the NIPC's training, outreach and strategy section, told a recent homeland security seminar. "Do you hire investigators and train them in IT security, or do you hire IT security specialists and teach them to investigate? We do the former, because we can't afford to hire the IT specialists. Most of them don't want to carry guns anyway."

The NIPC was set up to protect critical U.S. infrastructures, including electrical power plants, gas and oil facilities, telecommunications, banking and finance, water supplies, transportation, emergency services and other essential government operations. Information technology is key to all of these systems, Suggs said.

Realizing this, more and more companies are setting up their own IT security operations, according to Bryant B. Tow, executive vice president of Olympus Security Group, of Nashville, Tenn. In 1999, he said, 31.9 percent of corporations responding to a survey had appointed an IT security officer. In 2001, 48.6 percent had done so. In 2002, Tow noted, IT security employers expected their staffs to increase by 14.8 percent.
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Author:Book, Elizabeth G.
Publication:National Defense
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:219
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