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ICYMI: Chairman Green, CISA Director Easterly Host Cyber Roundtables With Industry, Higher Education Stakeholders in Nashville

July 3, 2024

NASHVILLE, TN –– Following the House Homeland Security Committee’s recent hearings on the cyber workforce shortage and critical infrastructure resilience, Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) held four cyber roundtables with Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly in Nashville, Tennessee. These discussions informed the Committee’s ongoing work to close America’s cyber workforce gap of 500,000 cyber professionals and enhance a security-first mindset for private-sector critical infrastructure owners and operators. 

Watch a highlight video here.

[Director Easterly] has brought her team down to Nashville. First, we talked with education folks about how we work on our pipeline for cybersecurity professionals, and we talked to business leaders here on how to protect our businesses,” Chairman Green said following the roundtables.Our last meeting was with healthcare providers, hospitals and institutions, systems and networks, that, quite frankly, are a big target for the enemy who wants to crack into our networks.

 “Nothing is more important than catalyzing trusted partnerships. So, everybody needs to understand the information we have, the no-cost services, the no-cost training, because we are here to help drive down risk to America,” Director Easterly said following the roundtables.There are very real actors out there who want to go after our networks, hold them at risk, and harm Americans. We are grateful for the opportunity, we’re grateful to Chairman Green for his leadership and partnership, and we are looking forward to working with this community to continue to keep Americans safe.”

First, Chairman Green and Director Easterly heard from Vanderbilt University administrators and experts on the future of cybersecurity education, the university’s new College of Connected Computing, and the university’s work in preparing our nation’s next cyber leaders. University officials explored new cyber certification opportunities in collaboration with government partners and the increased importance of cybersecurity literacy in business schools, and also discussed ways to partner with CISA and other federal agencies in recruitment.

The next roundtable included chief information security officers for nearly a dozen institutions of higher education. As technology security leaders on campuses both large and small, they discussed cybersecurity vulnerabilities, the rise in ransomware threats, and the current cyber threat landscape impacting students and administrators. This discussion also highlighted the importance of educational opportunities like the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) or the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program.

For lunch, Chairman Green and Director Easterly met with stakeholders from industries such as the automotive, technology, and agricultural sectors to discuss the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on industries, including the use of AI in defense against evolving threats, and incentivizing proper cyber hygiene to increase collective defense for both businesses and consumers. The stakeholders also discussed the current barrier to entry for cyber education, the importance of skills-based hiring, and enhancing job clarity in government cybersecurity roles to attract more qualified candidates.

Lastly, Chairman Green and Director Easterly hosted healthcare stakeholders to strengthen public-private partnerships and communication as this crucial sector faces rising threats from ransomware attacks. As a former physician and healthcare CEO, Chairman Green highlighted the need for cybersecurity best practices and asked how we can ensure CISA is effectively working with owners and operators to protect patients, providers, and networks.