Democratic Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego essentially called for a specialized branch of the military over the weekend that focuses on cybersecurity and emergency preparedness because of what he sees as a shortage of technical expertise in the federal government.
Gallego says the government is not doing enough to recruit tech-savvy people, like ones with a background in computer science, according to CNNTech. He said the void should be filled in order to create a reservist system, much like the National Guard, for cybersecurity in which certain members can be called on to temporarily protect the country against any virtual threats.
“We have to accept that, look, this person is not going to man a machine gun, why would we put them through bootcamp, we’re never going to send them to the front line,” Gallego told CNNTech. “But we could definitely use their knowledge in service to our country.”
Gallego was speaking at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, Saturday, along with Republican Texas Rep. Will Hurd. Both Gallego and Hurd have military backgrounds, with Gallego serving as a Marine for several years and Hurd working in some capacity with the CIA for almost a decade.
Hurd is one of the few lawmakers in the country with technical expertise and a work history in computer science. Both him and Gallego are two of the youngest members in the House of Representatives. (RELATED: One Of The Few Congressmen Knowledgeable On Cybersecurity Is In A Heated House Race)
“I think our government should look like our country,” Hurd said, according to CNNTech. “We need a diversity of thought, backgrounds and experiences. The issue of the most talented folks not going into government is true, it’s not just in the legislative or executive branch.”
Gallego thinks that such a diversity of talent and knowledge is available, but just isn’t being utilized sufficiently.
“I believe that we need to find a way to bring in your cyber warrior to come in and work for the NSA, or Department of Defense for a couple weeks per year,” Gallego said, according to CNNTech. “We have this great private sector of tech innovators that I know would love to be able to say, ‘I’ll give up two weeks of my life to serve.'” (RELATED: The Internet Has Officially Become A Domain Of Warfare)
There have been some initiatives in recent months that have aimed at harnessing unused tech talent across the country. The U.S. Army was reportedly paying people to hack its system and expose vulnerabilities in the branch’s technological infrastructure so it could patch the insecure parts.
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