Given the importance of cybersecurity to the smart grid and our national security in general, I wanted you to know about the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (“NICE”) Strategic Plan that was released for comment on August 11, 2011, by NIST. The plan, “Building a Digital Nation,” outlines NICE’s mission, vision, goals and objectives. Comments from all interested citizens and organizations concerned with cybersecurity awareness, training and education are due by September 12, 2011. NICE has provided a suggested template to be used when submitting comments. Your suggestions can help build a digital nation.

Shortly after comments are filed, NICE will be holding its second annual NICE workshop, “Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity Education—Engaging Americans in Securing Cyberspace,” Sept. 20-22, 2011, at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, MD. The strategic plan will be discussed. Government, academia and industry, as well as professionals from small- and medium-sized businesses are expected to be represented at the workshop.

The goals and objectives of the plan include:

  • Increase public awareness of cybersecurity risks
  • Responsible use of the Internet
  • Cybersecurity as a career path

Additionally, the plan seeks to develop the next generation of cybersecurity workers and encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) disciplines. All of these career options will help train the next generation of utility employees, including those with the aptitude to work on smart grid related issues. My guess is if successful, this plan will benefit a myriad of industries. Figure 2 from the report illustrates how the elements of the spectrum link to NICE goals and overall strategic outcomes.