The difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled cyber security pros isn't limited to the U.S. government. Reuters reports it's a problem for countries around the world and government agencies at all levels.
It says governments have been recruiting hard through competitions, universities and sometimes social-media sites, though the U.S. government reportedly doesn't hire entry-level workers for this.
In a special report last week, Reuters reported that many experts in the field believe China has gained the upper hand in cyber espionage.
According to the story on cyber security staffing:
In an era of heightened confrontation and technical advances, retention is a challenge. Skilled specialists can burn out, be poached by the private sector or can be tempted by criminal or anti-establishment causes. Many of the best may have difficult, sometimes eccentric personalities.
And there's just too few of them. The story points to partnerships with the private sector, as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is doing, as really the only way to gain capability fast enough.
It quotes John Bassett, associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London and a former senior official at Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, saying:
Given the nature of hackers, it's going to be like herding cats. You might be able to give them some money or tools which they would find interesting and keep them pointing in a certain direction for a certain period of time. But whether that would then give them any residual loyalty is a very open question.