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Due to ongoing security threats to United States government information systems, the need for highly trained information security professionals within the Federal space has never been higher. Network and cyber attacks continue to become more sophisticated forcing the United States government to qualify the skills of professionals that work on Federal systems. Attempts have been made in the recent past to create a baseline of skills but none has mapped directly to the needs of the Federal government.
As an example, in 2005, the United States Department of Defense
mandated a baseline of IT security skills through a directive known
as DoD 8570.1. The knowledge verified by the certifications on the
8570.1 directive attempts to validate that IA personnel working
For many years NIST® (National Institute of Standards and
Technologies) has developed standards, guidance, processes and
practices for the Federal space regarding IT security and
information assurance. There has yet to be a way to validate the
skills of IT
For the past seven years (since 2002) the United States Congress has been tracking the security posture of Federal agencies with FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act). Yearly audits are conducted on each agency as to their compliance with NIST standards and a report card is submitted to Congress via OMB (the Office of Management and Budget). In 2007 the collective grading of the entire Federal government was only a C. The end objective of all agencies is to have a security program in place that protects the assets, operations, and people of the government by receiving an "A." While yearly progress has been made in the past six years by most agencies, there is still much work to be done.
The FITSP certification program will help by building awareness of appropriate NIST and other federal standards throughout the workforce and thus help increase the security posture of all Federal agencies.