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Experts: Congress unlikely to raise pay for cybersecurity experts

Nov. 19, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

Agencies struggling to hire cybersecurity experts are unlikely to get relief from Congress in the form of higher pay scales, according to experts.

Michael Herman, legislative assistant to Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., said at the Cyber Education Symposium in Arlington, Va., Tuesday that while a “sizable majority” in Congress may support legislation, members are less willing to work on cybersecurity issues after the fallout of the National Security Agency leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden.

He said cybersecurity experts can command salaries that are two or three times higher than what the government can pay, which puts agencies at a disadvantage. But Congress is wary about new hiring authorities that have the potential to be abused.

“You need to be able to narrow that gap somewhat, and there is broad awareness on that,” he said.

Allan Friedman, a research director at the Center for Technology Innovation and the Brookings Institute, said agencies need increased flexibility, or cybersecurity efforts will continue to suffer.

But he added that while past legislation has failed, it should not prevent future attempts by Congress to tackle the issue.

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