By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md., Feb. 22, 2013 – With ever-changing technology and increasing cyber threats that can affect the nation’s security, Defense Department officials are stepping up security professionals’ training to help in determining potential risks before they occur, defense officials said here.
DOD has taken the lead to standardize the security professional’s knowledge to protect more than classified and sensitive information, said Denise Humphrey, deputy director for Defense Security Service’s Center for Development of Security Excellence.
Security also touches people, equipment, facilities, information technology and operations in the services and defense organizations, she added.
Now, for the first time, DOD’s thousands of military and civilian security professionals can earn certification in their job series to gain proficiency in an all-encompassing field through the Security Professional Education Development Program, a Defense Department initiative to professionalize the department’s security workforce.
DOD officials for many years have wanted a joint security environment among the services and defense organizations, said Kevin Jones, director of the center.
“As resources decrease, it's increasingly becoming [important] for different components to work together routinely, and agencies have to support the whole apparatus of defending the nation,” he said, emphasizing the need for building a professional cadre of security professionals.
But certifying security professionals doesn’t just apply to those in a security job series, Humphrey noted, because security affects all DOD employees.
“We are now facing unauthorized disclosure training requirements across DOD, and around the corner is the requirement for controlled unclassified mandatory training,” Humphrey said. Security professionals will be responsible for ensuring their workforces are capable of protecting such information, she added.
Humphrey said DOD’s former paper-based society offered fewer security risks compared to today’s rapidly changing technology.
“Years ago, when security was just a support function, there were just a few people who actually had computers on their desks, and the amount of information that could be leaked was minimal,” she said.
But in today's world, she added, DOD needs a cadre of security professionals who are savvy in identifying vulnerabilities.
“Now we have to deal with a cyber environment where information flows faster than you can stop it, and we’ve got to have highly trained professionals capable of addressing these issues to prevent these things from happening -- rather than chasing a security issue after it's already occurred,” Humphrey said.
“Fundamentals of Security Certification” is now available for security employees, and defense officials are working on three more levels of certification education and training.
And security certification has to be maintained with ongoing education, Humphrey said.
“Security professionals cannot rest on their laurels,” she added. “They have to keep up with the changing state of the art of security.”