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NICE! 10 years in the Making

NICE! 10 years in the Making
We’re lighting the birthday candles – the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Conference and Expo turns 10 this year! For a decade, thought leaders from industry, government, academia, and non-profit organizations have come together each year to address the nation's cybersecurity education, training, and workforce needs at the annual NICE Conference. 

NICE, an effort led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, seeks to build upon existing successful programs, facilitate change and innovation, and bring leadership and vision to increase the number of skilled cybersecurity professionals helping to keep our nation secure. While the inception of NICE was circa 2008, the first conference wasn’t held until two years later. The NICE Conference and Expo is organized by Florida International University and New America supported by a cooperative agreement with NICE.

Picture it: a mid-August, hot summer day. The deer are grazing in a field nearby on NIST’s main campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland, as conference attendees navigate to various conference rooms. The first NICE Conference focused on “Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity Education” and it truly laid the foundation for building the NICE Community. 

The NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, NIST SP 800-181, was a primary outcome of the first NICE convenings. It is a resource that categorizes and describes cybersecurity work and it has become a reference for curriculum, job classification tools, and presidential executive orders, to name a few. 

Ten years ago, the first NICE Conference highlighted the need for a common lexicon and taxonomy for cybersecurity work and workers. The Intelligence Community and the rest of the federal government moved quickly to establish and validate a robust framework that is still in use today. The nation’s success depends on having trained, motivated, and thoughtful people working within organizations able to understand, value, and coordinate their capabilities. The NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework was designed and is serving this purpose for the cybersecurity domain.

-Jane Homeyer, Ph.D.
Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Adding more sweetness to our birthday cake, the NICE Conference isn’t all we’re celebrating this year. The National Cybersecurity Centers of Excellence (CAE) program turns 20 this year!  This NICE eNewsletter article describes the growth and evolution of the program that was originally started by the National Security Agency in 1999 that was designed to promote higher education and research in cybersecurity defense and produce practitioners with cybersecurity defense expertise throughout the nation. For the past few years, the CAE Community (312 institutions and growing) has held its annual symposium in conjunction with the NICE Conference and California State University, San Bernardino. Bringing these representatives from academia together with a blend of industry and government stakeholders is what the conference has been able to achieve. 

Now picture it: a cool fall breeze and crisp air. In the desert of Arizona, almost 700 national and international participants gather for the 10th anniversary of the NICE Conference and Expo at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. Attendees will learn from over 30 presentations, including four pre-conference workshops and more than 40 exhibitors. Much like the first conference, the theme for the 10th conference will emphasize “the future.” More specifically, presentations will be focused on reimagining that future and highlight mechanisms for adapting to the changing landscape of cybersecurity education and workforce. 

I hope to see you there!

About the author

Rodney Petersen

Rodney Petersen is the director of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce. He...

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