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Cyber Corps Program Trains Spies For the Digital Age, In Oklahoma

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the work-study dept.

Education 118

David Hume writes "The Los Angeles Times has a story about the two-year University of Tulsa Cyber Corps Program. About '85% of the 260 graduates since 2003 have gone to the NSA, which students call "the fraternity," or the CIA, which they call "the sorority."' 'Other graduates have taken positions with the FBI, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.' According to the University of Tulsa website, two programs — the National Science Foundation's Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service and the Department of Defense's (DOD's) Information Assurance Scholarship Program — provide scholarships to Cyber Corps students."

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Oklahoma is awesome (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081143)

They'll get first pick of all the hillbillies, rednecks and hicks.

Re:Oklahoma is awesome (0, Troll)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#42081795)

What a fascinating way for the US to innovate its way out of stagnation: with incentives to joint the secret police!

There's never been a an economic miracle of productivity and social rewards, like that which has come from diverting skilled students away from developing a market - and into the state security apparatus.

Or, maybe not?

Cyber Corps (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081179)

Really Good thing from NASA Cyber Corps
http://price-specifications.com/

Good ol' USSA (-1, Flamebait)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#42081181)

Everyone with a brain either works for or against the Party.

Re:Good ol' USSA (1, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42081371)

The fusion centers, black ops, the public/private databases, all the new suburban office blocks with tight security filled with a million bight new faces.
The NSA is growing very fast and pointing its efforts inwards.
This will result in two systems for the USA:
A Soviet system- a huge structure unable to deal with protesters, debt, hunger, riots, informants, cyber war, crumbling infrastructure and the massive optical, hardware and software data dumps per day on people of interest around the world.
Or they end up with the MI6 dilemma - a perfect world wide network of great spies- sadly working for other powers as their vetting was rushed, classed based, faith based or family based.
The correct vetting needed per person is not easy. Family, parents, grandparents, school teachers, college, friends, lovers, drinking problems, gambling, net usage, contact with foreign powers, family origins, cult, faith... can all add up to the perfect person having two hats and helping the 'old' country or be open to blackmail, sleeping around or finding faith after a night raid or noting the double crossing a country that was always allied with the USA...
Basically a team has to physically interview up and down the family tree and most people of any meaning a person has had in their life for the better security clearances.
So yes, both the USSR and UK have tried to stuff their clandestine services with graduates with very predictable results - they all started as the "super techies" of their generations.

Re:Good ol' USSA (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42081397)

What are you rambling about? Nowadays, most background checks are done from an office at the inquiring agency's headquarters. People who would be superb government agents are ruled out because of an arrest record, while complete losers are sometimes welcomed into the agency, because they have a clean record.

Interviews? A long time ago, when I was a young man, yes. Today, not so much.

Re:Good ol' USSA (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081469)

All civilian background investigations are performed by the Office of Personnel Management in conjunction with the FBI. Home agencies can conduct additional checks, like a credit report inquiry, if that's not included as part of minimum BI performed by OPM for a specific level.

Re:Good ol' USSA (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42081517)

Re "done from an office at the inquiring agency's headquarters"
That gets you what? A person who got lucky and had his or her paper trail lost during some digital "upgrade"?
Some state court or college town was kind enough to seal a record due to family connections or other considerations?
An NGO or religion was kind enough to "settle" out of court the first few times?
Do you really think a foreign embassy will just work down a list of a few 100 cleared workers and see what can be "done from an office"...
They will dig and find that record that a complete loser at a computer doing background checks could not....

Re:Good ol' USSA (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42081651)

I have one name to mention to anyone who believes background checks are meaningful.

Bradley Manning.

If (s)he can get a security clearance, the system is undoubtedly broken.

Re:Good ol' USSA (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42081959)

I have one name to mention to anyone who believes background checks are meaningful.

Bradley Manning.

If (s)he can get a security clearance, the system is undoubtedly broken.

Really? What was the evidence that he posed a security risk before he joined the Army?

Re:Good ol' USSA (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 years ago | (#42083121)

err SC checks are quite different to those you have to pass for TS which is what you would need to work for the CIA or NSA

Re:Good ol' USSA (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42081983)

What are you rambling about? Nowadays, most background checks are done from an office at the inquiring agency's headquarters. People who would be superb government agents are ruled out because of an arrest record, while complete losers are sometimes welcomed into the agency, because they have a clean record.

Interviews? A long time ago, when I was a young man, yes. Today, not so much.

REALLY? There was a time when the NSA and the CIA didn't care about an arrest record? Who knew? And who are these complete losers who are welcomed into the agency? Got examples? Or are you just making shit up because it's popular on Slashdot to make up random shit to malign the US government in every way possible?

Re:Good ol' USSA (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42083933)

Scroll up to Shavano's post. The man referenced was a known security risk for quite a long time BEFORE he made headlines.

failzo8s (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081235)

tired Argume1nts [goat.cx]

Yeah, but Tulsa (3, Insightful)

mekkab (133181) | about 2 years ago | (#42081237)

Sounds like you do some really cool cyber-stuff and I'd love to join your cyber-group but living in Tulsa for two years? Ehhhhh...

/here's hoping no one from OK has mod points

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

arisvega (1414195) | about 2 years ago | (#42081263)

Sounds like you do some really cool cyber-stuff

Where did you read that? There is barely any information about the content of the course at the university 's website, under a very tacky "Do you have what it takes" [utulsa.edu] intro, a McGyver reference, a promise for a 90% chance of landing a men-in-black job, and how this awesome initiative has been picked up from the news. No real information about what you actually DO.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (2)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 2 years ago | (#42081321)

As with any position in federal service, you do what is asked of you. This isn't meant to sound trite; speaking as someone who has drawn paychecks from the military and has worked in the private sector in various information technology roles both before and after the DoD (and some gray in between), it's a reality that should be given serious thought. Take it for what it's worth, the primary point being that regardless of your job title, your first priority is your orders.

This has advantages and disadvantages, which measured against one another may invoke the urge the urge to seriously consider your personal value system, i.e. the value system you expressly agree to largely discount on the basis of placing your faith in your particular chain of command. If anything, it's a fun ride.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081621)

I have to say I disagree. One of my key values to my organization comes from my ability to state why a preferred course of action does not comply with the law, regulations, and requirements. My job is not (exclusively) to do what is asked of me; my job is to comply with the oath of office, to protect the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Now, it is true that being willing to say "No" can affect your career path. But it's also true that all the guys who have threatened me are no longer employed by my agency. That's probably the coolest part about being a fed: Doing the right thing for the right reasons means it's very difficult for some political hack to get you fired.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081391)

So, amusingly, I left the LA Times (where I wrote a column on technology) shortly after 9/11 for the Cybercorps. I got my master in information security from Purdue University, one of the earliest participants in the program. This article...could be better. There are currently NSA centers of excellence in every state. Happy to discuss with anybody.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081401)

Sorry for posting anonymously, but I feel like I'm offering too much personal information here; if it means anything, my slashdot number has six digits ;-)

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | about 2 years ago | (#42081495)

Tulsa is a pretty nice place.....big city with plenty to do....not a hick town by any stretch.....lot of nice lakes and forests to the Northeast (they call it Green Country), so lots of places to go if you are the outdoorsy type... Tulsa is only an hours drive from me.....would be neat to check out that program to further my IT career, but they probably wouldn't take an old fart like me... ;)

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (4, Interesting)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081559)

I joined the Cyber Corps in my Forties. Tulsa and I were talking quite a bit but eventually I wound up applying to another school instead. There are currently hundreds of schools across the United States that participate in the Cyber Corps program.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (4, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42081683)

I just gotta say, what kind of boring life did you lead that you could pass a background check in your 40s.

It one thing to be pass at 20 when you've had no time to get into any fun, but 40? I could never remember all the crimes I have committed. Halfway thought the polygraph the examiner would just start smacking me, 'you did what? Why are you wasting my time!'

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081703)

Using drugs is not an automatic disqualification. Committing a crime is not an automatic disqualification. Lying about it is an automatic disqualification.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42081783)

Tyler Durden could pass if he just fessed up? What if I fessed up to an ongoing crime?

e.g. My most recent fun: Armature psych ops against paranoid political types (fleabaggers, teabaggers, code pink, EFF etc etc). Flying a scale model predator drone over their protests. Feeds their paranoia, makes them foam at the mouth, more irrelevant. The key is putting plant into the crowd so the drone is spotted on schedule, right as it goes out of good camera range. Not criminal (I'm careful of who's airspace I fly and maintain less then 400 AGL). Still would raise an eyebrow.

I miss 'Occupy Oakland'. Those fools were easy to whip into a frenzy of paranoia. Gun shows just aren't as fun.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081903)

The key word there would be "automatic."

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (2)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42082491)

The fact that you think you have to commit crimes to have fun is.. strange.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#42083045)

I think he is talking about recreational drug use and the likes. You know, the party til you puke crowd that usually comes from college or the first reunion.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42084499)

I think he is talking about recreational drug use and the likes. You know, the party til you puke crowd that usually comes from college or the first reunion.

Which is perfectly valid. They don't care about any of that--what they care is if you're ashamed by it and want to hide it because it is therefore useful to someone interested in blackmailing you.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 years ago | (#42083153)

trouble is you don't want 100% 20 year olds straight out of Uni the Security Service and SIS used to prefer to recruit older people who had more of a track record - and you can make more of a measured judgement.

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42084131)

Yes, I was quite hesitant but most of the people in my program were older; this was a second career for many of us.

but do you want to work over seas for the CIA?? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42081565)

but do you want to work over seas for the CIA?? One thing with stuff like this they can make take a job with Fed Gov that may be out at some bunker in a area that most people may not want to go to.

Re:but do you want to work over seas for the CIA?? (2)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081655)

This article is very poorly researched. There are Cyber Corps graduates in every federal agency. You don't have to work for the CIA / NSA if you don't want to (but you do have to apply for jobs at other agencies; the NSA actively recruits Cyber Corps graduates so if that's the only job offer you get, you have to take it or pay the money back.

Re:but do you want to work over seas for the CIA?? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#42083363)

Bunker where people won't want to go? Try going to an embassy in an area recently torn by war and having the state department turn down your requests for more security on the anniversary of 9/11 when there are known Al Qeada agents operating in the area.

This is something people should be giving serious thought to. If the government sends people over seas, will they do it right and safely or will they forget there might be a danger in some places and leave you to die?

Re:Yeah, but Tulsa (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#42081999)

From Oklahoma? They might mod you down. Living here but from elswhere? Trust me, we're far more likely to mod you up.

Good program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081247)

I actually participated in this program from 2003-2004 at a different university and attended the conferences at CMU and Tulsa. It was quite a bit of fun. I actually ended up at a large financial institution instead of the NSA or CIA, but I learned quite a bit that was helpful there.

Re:Good program (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082425)

Don't bother applying if you are gay or your skin is too dark.

Re:Good program (2)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42082677)

Actually, a number of the members of my team are non-white, gay, or both, including some senior folks. We do however tend to avoid hiring the ignorant.

Go Tulsa...? (1)

budr (111245) | about 2 years ago | (#42081261)

As an Okie and a techie who's more than a little concerned about online privacy and yro, I don't know whether to be proud or horrified.

Re:Go Tulsa...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081555)

In the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Oklahoma had more voters per capita voting for Republicans than any other state in the Union. Oklahoma is the reddest of the Red states, which means the likely hood that the "cyber corps" is filling it's ranks with individuals that are tea party leaning conservatives.

Re:Go Tulsa...? (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081781)

The Tulsa program recruits students from all over the United States. Each of the colleges certified by the NSA as a Center of Excellence has different strong points; some are very focused on coding, for example, other on forensics or policy. My experience with the program is that is a reasonable mix of liberals and conservatives.

Re:Go Tulsa...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081875)

That's better then the alternative.

None of the 'constitution is a living document' liberty hating 'liberal' morons then.

Re:Go Tulsa...? (1)

budr (111245) | about 2 years ago | (#42082321)

I've lived in Oklahoma my entire life. I know very well how "red" my state is, and isn't. One very selective statistic about a national election held once every four years tells you very little about a state or its people. I suppose you think all Vermonters are flaming socialists because they keep re-electing Bernie Sanders.

Re:Go Tulsa...? (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42082685)

You mean we're not?

Re:Go Tulsa...? (1)

budr (111245) | about 2 years ago | (#42083237)

Heh. I really don't know, but I'll bet even Vermont has their share of Archie Bunkers.

So you're from Vermont? Do they accept immigrants from flaming red fly-over country?

Re:Go Tulsa...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082903)

If you think Tulsa is a "red" area you know NOTHING ABOUT TULSA.

I went through this program!! (5, Informative)

LanMan04 (790429) | about 2 years ago | (#42081265)

Wow, good ol' Cyber Corp! I entered the program (the one in Tulsa, it's also at other schools, but Tulsa is the "heart" of the program) in January 2003 and had my MS in Comp Sci in 3 semesters, graduating in May 2004.

You're able to go to school full-time because they pay for your books, tuition, AND give you a stipend for housing/food/living either on or off campus. And that buck goes pretty far in Tulsa (I think my 2 bed, 2 bath appt was $550/month).

I went through the NSF-version of the program. The DoD version was for military personnel only (I think?) who wanted to get a better degree.

I was one of the few that didn't go to NSA. Wasn't comfortable with being a super-spook (especially during the Bush years), so I went to a more "benign" agency. You MUST make sure that you'll be able to get a security clearance before you sign up, because if you get selected for the program, go through it, and then can't get a job because you're not clearable, you owe ALL the money back (like $40K or so). However, I had one arrest with a suspended sentence (minor pot possession) and was able to get a Secret clearance with no trouble, though YMMV.

TU (University of Tulsa) has had an Information Assurance program since loooong before it was popular (very early 90s?), so they've had time to build up talent and are VERY well connected in terms of getting you a job. You're pretty much guaranteed a job at NSA. I know several folks who went there and enjoy the work. I know several others who didn't and left for the private sector after their "time as up".

It's a "scholarship for service" system for paying back your tuition/stipend. If it takes you 3 semesters to get your degree, you have to work for the Fed Gov for 18 months to be fully "paid back". Then you can quit the Gov and go work for a contractor and make big $ since you're already cleared. I stayed in Fed service for 2.5 years and then went back to the private sector.

Feel free to ask me any other questions. It was a great deal and I'm so happy I was able to get a free MS out of it.

Re:I went through this program!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081481)

The only jobs at NSA that require a Secret are in a kitchen. Wait... there might be some landscaping positions as well.

Re:I went through this program!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082131)

Do not discount the intelligence that can be gathered by being able to not raise eyebrows for being at a particular location.

Re:I went through this program!! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#42082331)

The only jobs at NSA that require a Secret are in a kitchen. Wait... there might be some landscaping positions as well.

Do they have an Art History battalion?

Re:I went through this program!! (1)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | about 2 years ago | (#42081501)

I work at a privately held FFRDC which hires a lot of scholarship for service graduates. I had no idea such a program even existed until I was hired a few months ago. It sounds like a great way to get a masters degree paid for (I graduated with a PhD which was funded by an NSF grant, but MS students are rarely that lucky). Like you said, a lot of the SFS graduates put in their two years and leave although FFRDC pay and benefits are significantly better than what the feds offer.

what happens if you get layed off?? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42081543)

what happens if you get layed off??

With all the take of auto cuts coming you can be layed off and be on the hook for the money back as well.

Re:what happens if you get layed off?? (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | about 2 years ago | (#42081583)

If you get laid off through no fault of your own, you don't owe $.

I'd have to go back and check my contract (you do sign a contract), but I believe you only owe $ back if you can't get a job at all, are unclearance-able, or get fired for cause.

Re:what happens if you get layed off?? (2)

Tontoman (737489) | about 2 years ago | (#42081953)

These jobs are relatively immune from competition with H-1B visa holders.

Re:I went through this program!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081579)

I received a lot of recruiting pushes for this program at my Arkansas university (not the U of A). A friend of mine joined. It was very tempting but I decided to stay local to help support my father.

Where's my tshirt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082457)

I spotted the fed.

This is getting too easy.

Thanks for posting, +5 informative.

Re:I went through this program!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082695)

I have always wanted to participate in a program like this. Though I am not entirely sure that it is for me. I am a "hardware guy" I like networking and doing other hardware stuff. I don't really have any coding skills (shame I know) So would there even be a place for someone like me? I know I could learn eventually, I usually pick things up at a nice pace, but is this the sort of place to learn things like that? Or should you really know before you go in? Thanks

Re:I went through this program!! (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42083165)

No, I am not a coder on any significant level. You should definitely check out a few schools. Tulsa is not much of a coding program, but they do teach you principles in java; Purdue has an interdisciplinary program that is heavy on programming theory but you can get out with little to no programming; Syracuse has a pure policy program where I think no coding is required at all.

Re:I went through this program!! (2)

http (589131) | about 2 years ago | (#42082863)

If they're handing you a Masters after 3 semesters, you must have had one hell of a thesis that everyone should read (and watch a vid of your defense), or it's an absolutely worthless piece of paper.

Open Enrollment / Full Courses Available? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#42081273)

Do they admit anyone with tuition, or must all students be sponsored by some government agency? Are the full range and content of courses available to non-government-sponsored students?

Might be a good idea for the EFF and/or other similar watchdog/defense organizations to set up a scholarship to train those who would help defend us from precisely the things they're teaching.

I'd be willing to bet long odds that a large percentage of the government-sponsored student graduates will end up using their skills against domestic civilian targets at the behest of their government handlers, and many/most of those targets are/will be purely political in nature.

Strat

Re:Open Enrollment / Full Courses Available? (3, Interesting)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081463)

Tuition is not an issue with the program (at least at the Master's level). It's a free ride, with a monthly stipend. The program is designed to allow students with families and mortgages to focus on school full time. No agency sponsorship is required; you compete for a slot just like a regular student. In some schools you can even design your own program (that's what I did; I could attend any class in any discipline, as long as I justified it with my advisor). I attended one of the top engineering schools in the country, and got paid to do it. Your only obligation is to seek employment from the government. if you don't get a job offer on graduation, you can take your degree and go. The downside is that if you only have one job offer, and you don't take it, you have to pay the money back.

Also, you don't have a clue about what the folks who work for the US government do for you.

Re:Open Enrollment / Full Courses Available? (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#42083447)

Also, you don't have a clue about what the folks who work for the US government do for you.

Yeah, yeah, yeah "We're from the government, and we're here to help".

Please stop doing stuff for us. It's destroying the country.

I know some of what the people who work for the US government do TO us. That's way too much as it is, thanks.

If those you speak of in the US government want more trust from we the people, they desperately need to focus their efforts on exposing and destroying corruption and betrayal by US government officials and politicians.

Until that happens, you're all still willing parts in the corrupt, evil machine and will be regarded and treated as such. Molon labe.

Strat

Re:Open Enrollment / Full Courses Available? (2)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42084193)

Excellent argument. The government-employed medical doctors doing cutting edge research developing treatments no private sector company will touch because there's not enough profit in it: Clearly corrupt. Those firefighters who parachute in to disaster areas with nothing but a shovel and desire to save whoever they can: Obviously corrupt. People battling for meaningful financial reform against incredibly powerful opponents: Corruption incarnate. The only moral choice is to do nothing; anybody who says they're in government to try and do the right thing is obviously lying.

Re:Open Enrollment / Full Courses Available? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#42084389)

Excellent argument. The government-employed medical doctors doing cutting edge research developing treatments no private sector company will touch because there's not enough profit in it: Clearly corrupt. Those firefighters who parachute in to disaster areas with nothing but a shovel and desire to save whoever they can: Obviously corrupt. People battling for meaningful financial reform against incredibly powerful opponents: Corruption incarnate. The only moral choice is to do nothing; anybody who says they're in government to try and do the right thing is obviously lying.

Nice straw-man arguments there. Too bad I didn't argue any of those. I'm sure that the old Soviet government and Iran's government also did/does some good things. Doesn't make them good guys, and neither does it make the US government good guys.

Almost every single thing you mentioned could be done at the State and local levels without the Feds except a national financial reform, and nothing you listed requires domestic surveillance (digital or otherwise) of the NSA/CIA/FBI variety.

At this point in time, the US Federal government is FAR more a danger to individual freedom, privacy, and rule of law, than any terrorist group or foreign power. I trust Al Qaeda far more than the Federal government. I KNOW what Al Qaeda's agenda is, though I disagree vehemently with it. Sadly, I cannot trust my own government's intentions to anywhere close to the same degree. They keep giving me more and more, and stronger and stronger, reasons not to almost every time I read the news.

Strat

Re:Open Enrollment / Full Courses Available? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42084477)

Excellent argument. The government-employed medical doctors doing cutting edge research developing treatments no private sector company will touch because there's not enough profit in it: Clearly corrupt. Those firefighters who parachute in to disaster areas with nothing but a shovel and desire to save whoever they can: Obviously corrupt. People battling for meaningful financial reform against incredibly powerful opponents: Corruption incarnate. The only moral choice is to do nothing; anybody who says they're in government to try and do the right thing is obviously lying.

The trains ran on time under Mussolini, too.

The Nazis invented the V1, V2, and the very first jet combat aircraft as well as making huge advances in public health, public transportation, and the general sciences.

Hello!?!? MCFLY!?!?

Re:Open Enrollment / Full Courses Available? (1)

Wandering Voice (2267950) | about 2 years ago | (#42084261)

Until that happens, you're all still willing parts in the corrupt, evil machine and will be regarded and treated as such.

Well said. I find it hard to have any respect towards those who would seek out power and opportunity such as this. Power does not corrupt, but power attracts the corruptible.

Ozymandias (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081287)

Most humans take themselves far too seriously

Bureaucrats of crumbling empires take themselves the most seriously of all.

Poorly researched (4, Informative)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081441)

I joined the Cybercorps in its first year of operation after two decades in an unrelated field; the reason you've never heard of the program is it was scheduled to be announced on Sept. 12, 2011. There are probably hundreds of schools certified as Centers of Excellence by the NSA; some of them are top notch, some of them not so much. I've been working for the government for nearly a decade now: Operations, compliance, and even teaching. Happy to discuss. Here's a link to the official Cyber Corps Web site, run by the Office of Personnel Management: https://www.sfs.opm.gov/ [opm.gov]

Re:Poorly researched (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42081561)

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/first-cyber-curriculum-goes-to-meade/article_c490140d-3390-589f-9801-aebd2f1b07c5.html [capitalgazette.com]
"First cyber curriculum goes to Meade"
re 'There are probably hundreds of schools certified as Centers of Excellence"
Cyber Command could be seen as "That corridor that I represent, in 10 years, there are going to be more tech jobs than Silicon Valley," "

Re:Poorly researched (2)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081687)

The Cyber Corps is not a high school program; it's a college program. Here's a link to the NSA certified centers of excellence: http://www.nsa.gov/ia/academic_outreach/nat_cae/institutions.shtml [nsa.gov]

Re:Poorly researched (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42084233)

The Cyber Corps is not a high school program; it's a college program. Here's a link to the NSA certified centers of excellence: http://www.nsa.gov/ia/academic_outreach/nat_cae/institutions.shtml [nsa.gov] [nsa.gov]

A target list! That's great!

And they say government is never helpful!

Thanks NSA!

Re:Poorly researched (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about 2 years ago | (#42082185)

"Compliance"? What does this mean?

Re:Poorly researched (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42082257)

Systems housing government data are required to meet certain minimum protective requirements, every system also needs to be certified as initially complying with those requirements by an independent third party (i.e., not the system owner), with a re-examination every three years. It's called "Certification and Accreditation." if you want to understand more about the requirements, look for a document called NIST 800-53. It's basically a penetration test.

So in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081475)

... they produce about 1/20th of the blue badges that University of Maryland does.

l33t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081493)

I guess it finally is l33t to be a fed :_)

Also, you don't have a clue about what the folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081525)

remember this spook
i didnt ask you to do this and id feel a whole lot better off if you guys and gals would stop saying that
because "we" are not asking you to do whatever it is that you are doing

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081563)

they are prolly all over your ip address just for sayin that

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42081617)

good then they will see me having both sides of this little argument with myself
either way i still dont feel very good about u.s citizens spying on each other and saying they are doing it for us, to protect us, in our name
it scares me
captcha :collared

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (5, Interesting)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081591)

I am actually not a spook, though I was recruited by one of the spooky agencies. i chose the non-spook life and I don't regret it. I have a number of friends who are spooks and they are the last defense against political appointees who try to engage in all kinds of prohibited activities. The nice thing about being a government employee is that we get to take an oath pledging us to protect, not the government, not a party, but the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. How do you think you became aware of the excesses of the past? It's because some low-level employee discovered some political hack set up an illegal program and let somebody -- a member of Congress, a law enforcement agency, or a newspaper -- about what was going on. You'd be shocked at how many liberals work for the NSA.

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#42081699)

I have a number of friends who are spooks and they are the last defense against political appointees who try to engage in all kinds of prohibited activities.

My anecdotal experience contradicts yours. I trained as a Cryptologic Technician - Interpretative in the Navy (one of the SIGINT positions that ties into NSA). My fellow sailors considered protection of Americans' privacy to be a nuisance to their job, not a principle to uphold, and they felt it was OK to violate it as long as no one got caught. A few chiefs who had been in for a long time (some of whom had completed a tour at Ft. Meade) would grumble about how Jimmy Carter just because he tried to institute more strictures against such surveillance.

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081837)

I would agree that active duty enlisted tend to be "redder" than average. Also, the time frame you're describing is quite interesting as sounds like it was just about the time that the NSA had been publicly identified as breaking the law and new restrictions were put into place (which is probably what the Chief was bellyaching about). But my experience post reform is that the vast majority of people at the NSA take the prohibition on domestic spying very seriously.

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#42081895)

My experience was late 1990s, early millennium. By that time, Carter's attempts to limit interception of American communications had long since passed away (that they had more of a free rein in recent years nonetheless did not stop the aforementioned chiefs from rueing his memory).

I was very happy to see that the European Parliament's ECHELON report, which appeared right about the time I left the military and the United States in 2001, brought some troubling developments to public knowledge, but sadly the events of September 11 pushed it under the radar entirely. After September 11, I have no faith at all that the US is not pursuing interception of everyone and everything. And from keeping in touch with some of my shipmates who signed for another hitch or two after me, I can only assume from their attitudes that the privacy of Americans is less respected than ever.

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42081897)

Of course: That issue has been covered for decades. Almost a century.

USA spy agencies prohibited from domestic spying. So are the UK and Australia.

Simple solution: USA agencies spy on Brits and Aussies, Aussie and Brit spy agencies spy on Americans and each other.

Abracadabra, no issues. Everybody (almost) is happy.

Open secret. Of course you can't confirm or deny.

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (3, Informative)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081949)

In the United States, it's not that domestic spying is not allowed, it's that it's prohibited within specific agencies. The FBI does a lot of internal spying.

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42082161)

At least in theory, the FBI isn't a spy agency. It's a law enforcement agency. Counterintelligence isn't intelligence-gathering.

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42082295)

Your description is more accurate than mine; saying that the FBI engages in "spying" is probably a bit off. they do engage in covert surveillance and counter espionage within the United States.

Re:Also, you don't have a clue about what the folk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082917)

"You'd be shocked at how many liberals work for the NSA."

I wouldn't at all.

I'd be shocked if they keep quiet in the coming years,
knowing what they know about the attacks of September 11, 2001.

two-year program so other IT work should not need (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42081607)

two-year program so other IT work should not need a BS / BA.

And this has real work as part the classes and not just loads of theory.

Re:two-year program so other IT work should not ne (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42081709)

This is a masters program. You need a BS just to get in.

so cut out smart people who are not college materi (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42081789)

so cut out smart computer people who are not college material.

That is the issue what you want these people to do? That can do the job but are not cut out for the rest of college???

Re:so cut out smart people who are not college mat (3, Interesting)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42081843)

I've worked with a few sharp people with no formal training.

They would have all benefited from being forced out of their comfort zone in college.

That said, I've also worked with doctorate level air thieves.

Math and communication skills are areas that the 'naturals' often skip. Also their egos are often fucking out of control as they have not spent enough time with their intellectual peers. Nothing teaches you humility like running into subjects that force you to work at 100% (true 100% is fucking hard to maintain, 110% is only arrived at with 25%(Mon-Thurs)+10%(Friday)). 'Natural genius's' tend to ignore subjects that threaten their self image, often with a rationalization: 'I don't need to understand K domain, I'll go back and study it if it ever comes up.' It never comes up, their ego is safe. Not that they are alone in this. Zaphod (para) 'If their is anything on this spaceship more important then my ego, I want it taken out and shot'.

I'm one of those, but to be the best (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#42081963)

The security software I developed runs on tens of thousands of web sites. I don't have a college degree. Some might say I have a natural talent. Yet, to really be the best I can, to be an NSA level expert, schooling would really help I'm sure. Natural talent and self-study has gotten me to a certain point, but I'm sure studying with other bright people would take me up a notch or two, even if that's not my comfort zone.

+1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082941)

I have a BS degree in CS and I can attest that even Math graduates are making some very basic mistakes when developing programs. That's because nobody told them how the underlying system works or how to properly do hashtables (for example).
So this whole "amateurs are often better than pros" meme is just that - bullshit. Would you want to be treated by "the best amateur medic" instead of a real doc ??

Re:I'm one of those, but to be the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42082943)

The interesting part for me is the motivation expected.
Why is working for the NSA a desirable job, exactly?

I'd be curious what people who are actually in a position to evaluate the question might say.

Well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42083189)

* Hyper-Big Data
* crypto
* Snooping on people
* working with some great minds
* exotic, advanced tech

Not saying this is morally "good", but these are probable the motivators.

Re:I'm one of those, but to be the best (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42083219)

To recap: You do *not* have to work for the NSA (that article was awful). You do have to work for the government, but you only have to do that for two years (the amount of time you're in school under the program). A masters degree from Carnegie Mellon would cost you something like six figures. And after that all you have is a degree with no experience. Cyber Corps offers you a *free* degree *plus* a monthly stipend, *plus* a virtually guaranteed job, meaning in four years you have no debt, a solid degree and a real resume. I can't say enough good things about the program.

Re:two-year program so other IT work should not ne (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081841)

Actually, you can apply the two years to an undergrad degree and a lot of people do that.

Re:two-year program so other IT work should not ne (1)

gruntled (107194) | about 2 years ago | (#42081737)

The program offers four semesters of financial help; it was obviously aimed at the Masters level, but it can be applied to both undergraduate and even a PhD.

Troops ... (-1, Troll)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42082099)

.... at attention [pigroll.com] .

Wake me up when a BA becomes affordable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42084493)

I'm from California and I'm forced to face the harsh truth that there are very few opportunities left anymore.

This is a non-story. Very few people are able to make it. College is hideously overpriced and impossible to get into.
Speaking for myself, as a Californian (the most populated state), I can state with some authority that this state and its economy was built with the skills created in cheap higher education -- which doesn't exist anymore.

Baby Boomers got a nearly free education and are squatting in the best positions of society, while younger folk are squeezed off to the ghettos, to perish in poverty and inequality. An elite, highly restrictive scholarship for those wealthy enough or connected enough to get through undergraduate education, is not news. Aside from the cyber/high tech part of this story, it's a non-event.

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