The video above is Dr. Regina Dugan speaking at the DARPA Cyber Colloquium in January 2012. This is video provides an excellent snapshot of what is ongoing throughout the Internet and what we call “Cyberspace”.  It also alludes to the “Death by a thousand cuts” I mentioned in my Information Dominance Corps video.

The news today is that Dr. Dugan is headed out of DARPA and into the arms of Google. This kind of departure is one of my main concerns for the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Navy. This concern is rooted in the historical departure of excellent people from these institutions due to the institution’s inability to entice them to stay.  The military and Navy have battled this issue for centuries and I think the battle in the realms of Information Technology and Cyberspace will be a far more challenging one.

To this point the private sector has traveled through the economic recession and is in full recovery and growth mode in these realms while the government sector is just now facing it with massive budgetary issues.  Companies can’t obtain excellent people in these Cyber fields fast enough. Carnegie Mellon University and others can’t create them fast enough.  In steps a company like Google, Facebook and others and they gobble up every great candidate.  Facebook’s creator visited CMU for just this reason in the last part of 2011.

DARPA DirectorWhen a company like Facebook wants a great candidate they are no longer simply offering a salary (which already dwarfs those of the government sector) but are able to provide a substantial and comprehensive package.  If the candidate puts up a bit of a fight they simply increase the offer.  And if the candidates desires are to follow their company start-up dreams and continue with their own company; Facebook will simply buy the company.

Starting to see my point?  The Government and our Military are significantly challenged when trying to recruit, develop, and maintain this cyber force.  They are not only facing a foe in Cyberspace but the economic challenges in one of the most rapidly growing and developing industries in a globally connected world.  Compound these considerations with the Military budgets and personnel that are shrinking.  While more resources are shifting to the Cyberspace arena the priority changes, funding amounts and personnel may not be adequate enough to mitigate the risks that our Nation is facing.

What do you think?  How do you keep, maintain, and improve the people required for Cyberspace?

[via DARPA]

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I suppose this is a bad thing if you think the US needs to be mobilized in a kind of "condition yellow or red" posture at all times.  I think DARPA has done some great things, but the US devotes so much of our resources and talent to the military already, maybe we need to find some way to extricate ourselves from this cycle of: fear=>war=>foreign resentment=>more fear, since it seems to be a positive feedback loop consuming our blood and treasure.


  1. […] I can see why Regina Dugan was stolen away by Google earlier this month.  This continues to reinforce my fear that in the upcoming years the greatest challenge that will […]

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