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National Initiative For Cybersecurity Education (NICE)

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) has evolved from the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, and extends its scope beyond the federal workplace to include civilians and students in kindergarten through post-graduate school. The goal of NICE is to establish an operational, sustainable and continually improving cybersecurity education program for the nation to use sound cyber practices that will enhance the nation’s security.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is leading the NICE initiative, including more than 20 federal departments and agencies, to ensure coordination, cooperation, focus, public engagement, technology transfer and sustainability. Many NICE activities are already underway and NIST will highlight these activities, engage various stakeholder groups and create forums for sharing information and leveraging best practices. NIST will also be looking for “gaps” in the initiative -- areas of the overarching mission that are not addressed by ongoing activities.

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) will be represented by four Components:

Component 1: National Cybersecurity Awareness Lead: Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
The National Cybersecurity Awareness Component is being led by the Department of Homeland Security. To boost national cybersecurity awareness, DHS will use public service campaigns to promote cybersecurity and responsible use of the Internet, and make cybersecurity a popular educational and career pursuit for older students.

Component 2: Formal Cybersecurity Education Co-Lead Department of Education (DoED) and National Science Foundation (NSF)
The Department of Education and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are leading the Formal Cybersecurity Education Component Their mission is to bolster formal cybersecurity education programs encompassing kindergarten through 12th grade, higher education and vocational programs, with a focus on the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines to provide a pipeline of skilled workers for the private sector and government.

Component 3: Cybersecurity Workforce Structure Lead: DHS supported by OPM

NICE Component 3, Workforce Structure Strategy, focuses on talent management of cybersecurity professionals. It aims to evaluate the professionalization of the workforce, to recommend best practices for forecasting future cybersecurity needs, and to define national strategies for recruitment and retention.

Component 4: Cybersecurity Workforce Training and Professional Development Tri-Leads: Department of Defense (DoD), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The Cybersecurity Workforce Training and Professional Development Component is led by the Department of Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is to intensify training and professional development programs for existing federal cybersecurity workforce. This Component is divided into four functional areas  that cover:

  • Functional Area 1: General IT Use (Co-Leads: DHS, Federal CIO Council)
  • Functional Area 2: IT Infrastructure, Operations, Maintenance, and Information Assurance (Co-Leads: DoD, DHS)
  • Functional Area 3: Domestic Law Enforcement and Counterintelligence (Lead: NCIX, DOD/DC3, DOJ, DHS/USSS)
  • Functional Area 4: Specialized Cybersecurity Operations (Lead: NSA)

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