The Biden administration is calling the shortage of cybersecurity talent a "national security challenge" ahead of a summit at the White House Tuesday focused on accelerating progress on the issue.
In a news release Monday, the White House cited estimates that there are 700,000 cybersecurity jobs currently open in the U.S. alone.
Tuesday's National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit is expected to include participation from a number of top Biden administration officials, as well as executives from the private sector and "thought leaders" in academia and the cybersecurity community. The summit is being convened by National Cyber Director Chris Inglis, and participants will include Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, as well as Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
With the massive cybersecurity talent gap, "America faces a national security challenge that must be tackled aggressively," the White House said in the news release.
Planned discussion topics at the summit include the "need to create and prioritize new skills-based pathways to cybersecurity jobs" in educational institutions and training programs. Notably, the Biden administration pointed out that the U.S. has "an opportunity to build pipelines for historically untapped talent, including underserved and diverse communities" as part of filling open cybersecurity roles.
What the White House release didn't specifically touch on was the need for more employers to create entry-level positions — something that a number of industry leaders have told Protocol is the biggest missing piece for closing the cybersecurity talent and diversity gap.
Too many employers still put their energy into poaching talent from the same pool of the most-experienced people rather than widening the pool by creating entry-level roles, those leaders said. "The talent gap lives entirely in the minds of hiring managers in cybersecurity," Naomi Buckwalter, a cybersecurity professional for two decades, said in a recent interview.