Skip To Content Skip To Left Navigation
NSF Logo Search GraphicGuide To Programs GraphicImage Library GraphicSite Map GraphicHelp GraphicPrivacy Policy Graphic
OLPA Header Graphic

Dr. Bordogna's Remarks


Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Deputy Director
Chief Operating Officer
Remarks and Introduction of
The Honorable Howard A. Schmidt
AACC/NSF Workshop on the Role of Community Colleges in Cybersecurity Education

June 26, 2002

Good evening to everyone. I am delighted to welcome you on behalf of the National Science Foundation.

I want to extend a special thanks to the American Association of Community Colleges, the co-sponsors of this workshop, and to George Boggs [President & CEO, AACC], who has provided inspired leadership.

The psychologist and educator John Dewey said: "Education is the journey, not the destination." I think he was half right.

I agree that education, like the work of science, is an ongoing activity. Lifelong learners never reach the finish line. This is a good thing. Those of us absorbed by an inexhaustible task are fortunate to be challenged every day. In this sense, education is truly a journey.

But education is also about destinations. It enables us to accomplish specific goals: to upgrade our skills, to advance professionally, to contribute to the economy, to improve our society.

These are important destinations in our moment of time. It is vital that students in the 21st century reach their educational and professional goals, even goals they might not see clearly at the start. At NSF we frequently talk of preparing students for what may be, as well as what is.

Our changing national circumstances bring a new urgency and sense of purpose to this task. Homeland security now joins economic prosperity and quality of life as an objective worthy of our concerted and best efforts.

Your focus over the next two days will be on cybersecurity, a critical lynchpin in our progress toward each of these goals.

Reliable, secure information and communication systems underpin not only the functioning of government, but also the functioning of industries and financial institutions, our colleges and universities - indeed, nearly every aspect of our everyday lives.

The events of September 11 only accelerated longstanding concerns about the threat of cyberterrorism and the vulnerability of the nation's information systems and communications networks.

Worrisome signals are becoming all too familiar. We've all seen the reports - putting the "costs" of security breakdowns in the hundreds of millions, possibly the billions of dollars. Attacks on commercial and government Internet sites are increasing in frequency and sophistication.

Government information and communication systems have come under special scrutiny. Studies have raised questions about our ability to ensure the security of everything from IRS information, the banking system, and sensitive economic forecasts, to critical infrastructure and military operations. These red flags have stimulated efforts to address the problem, with this Workshop and NSF's Scholarship for Service program being two leading examples.

The recent 2002 Computer Crime and Security Survey, conducted by the Computer Security Institute with assistance from the FBI, adds weight to this unease. Ninety percent of respondents reported computer security breaches within a twelve-month period. Eighty percent acknowledged financial losses caused by computer breaches. The majority of these were large corporations and government agencies.

Questions about the adequacy of the U.S. science, engineering, and technology workforce are also rising to a chorus. Reported shortages of skilled workers in the IT sector are only one example. The need we all recognize, for a cadre of professionals in computer security and information assurance, is right at the top of the list.

The enormity of our cybersecurity challenge is clear. But just as crises give authority to our concerns, they also attest to our resilience and our strengths. We can do this; we can meet the challenge.

Community colleges are up to this challenge and will contribute greatly to its resolution. For example, NSF's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program has already received over a dozen proposals from community colleges to improve cybersecurity education in the wake of September 11.

I can't emphasize this point too strongly. The capability of NSF to respond rapidly and intelligently to emerging needs is the result of a long-term public investment in basic scientific and engineering research and education. For example, the U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics community was able to respond rapidly and flexibly to the events of September 11.

NSF-funded researchers were some of the first to arrive at Ground Zero after the attacks and provide their knowledge and expertise in an emergency situation.

Robin Murphy (University of South Florida), her students, and their robots (which were specifically designed for urban rescue operations), were called to aid in the search operations.

Sequencing of the strain of anthrax found in letters circulating in the U.S. Postal system was also made possible through NSF support.

NSF-funded engineers immediately began and continue to analyze the reasons for the complete collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. Understanding the structural damage will help prevent future catastrophes.

Social scientists with NSF support interviewed Americans about how the country was coping with this disaster.

Science was clearly on the front lines. People, tools, and knowledge, our stock and trade, produced an arsenal of preparedness for this new era and the challenges that it will bring.

This is the deeper meaning of preparedness in our knowledge-intensive 21st century world. National security depends critically on whether the nation's researchers and institutions remain at the forefront of discovery. And that, in turn, depends on how well educated our citizens are, and how resilient and nimble our research institutions can become.

The guiding vision of the National Science Foundation is "enabling the nation's future through discovery and education at the frontiers of knowledge." We are now reaping some of the benefits

As the Chairman of the House Science Committee, Sherwood Boehlert, correctly noted: "It's quite clear that, just like the Cold War, the war against terrorism will be waged - and won - in the laboratory just as much as on the battlefield." I would add, "in the classroom" as well.

Our community colleges have an essential role to play in this effort.

First of all, they're everywhere! There are 1,166 community colleges in the United States. They account for 44% of all U.S. undergraduates and 45% of first-time freshmen. Each year they award about 650,000 degrees and certificates.

U.S. community colleges enroll more than 10.4 million students. They welcome learners of all ages, income levels, and cultural backgrounds. They provide the first entrance to higher education for most minorities and first-generation college students. They also serve returning students and workers seeking new career opportunities or new skills in a changing economy.

Community colleges can respond quickly and flexibly to emerging workforce needs, on both a regional and national level. Many, for example, train students for certifications in various information and communication technology fields. These new credentials are likely to increase in importance for employment in cybersecurity related occupations.

NSF's Advanced Technology Education program works with community colleges across the nation to improve the skills of technology students. ATE encourages partnerships among community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, secondary schools, business, industry, and government. The aim is a world-class technology workforce.

Information technology and telecommunications specialists are often the front-line defense against cybersecurity attacks. They are the foot soldiers in the battle against cyberterrorism and we need to be absolutely certain that they have the weapons they need to wage the war successfully.

Community colleges can help to secure our cyber defenses through innovative education and training programs. I'm looking forward to learning about your innovative ideas in workshop discussions.


And now I have the pleasure to introduce the man who is at the top of everybody's most "wanted" list, the Honorable Howard Schmidt.

Mr. Schmidt is "wanted" by the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Advisor, and the Director of Homeland Security because he is the Vice-Chair of President Bush's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board - the Cybersecurity Board.

He comes to that high-ranking position from the place that was a pioneer in the cyber part of cybersecurity. Mr. Schmidt was the chief security officer for the Microsoft Corporation. In that capacity, he was the overseer of the Security Strategies Group. He was one of 29 industry leaders called to the White House to meet with President Clinton on cybersecurity.

Previous to his Microsoft position, he was director of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Computer Forensic Lab and Computer Crime and Information Warfare Division.

Before that the FBI actually got a hold of him. He was housed at the head of the Computer Exploitation Team at the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Mr. Schmidt is recognized as one of the pioneers in the field of computer forensics and computer evidence collection.

We are grateful that he's on our side. Please welcome Howard Schmidt.



National Science Foundation
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: 703-292-8070
FIRS: 800-877-8339 | TDD: 703-292-5090

NSF Logo Graphic