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August 5, 2011

NSA goes to Defcon

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Long story short from Tabassum Zakaria's August 3, 2011 Washington Post article: The National Security Agency has come out of the shadows, at least enough to openly announce its presence and intention to hire at this week's Defcon, the annual hacker conference "where the $150 entrance fee is cash only — no registration, no credit cards, no names taken."

It wasn't all that long ago that NSA stood for "No such agency," so black was its presence in the world outside Fort Meade.

Excerpts from the piece follow.

"Today it's cyberwarriors that we’re looking for, not rocket scientists," said Richard "Dickie" George, technical director of the NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate, the agency’s cyber-defense side.

The NSA is hiring about 1,500 people in the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and another 1,500 next year, most of them cybersecurity experts. With a workforce of about 30,000, the Fort Meade-based NSA dwarfs other intelligence agencies, including the CIA.

George said the NSA is an environment where the hacker mind-set fits with "a critical mass of people that are just like them."

But what about culture rifts?

"When I walk down the hall there are people that I see every day and I never know what color their hair’s going to be," George said. "And it's a bonus if they’re wearing shoes. We’ve been in some sense a collection of geeks for a long, long time."

"You’re not going to make yourself famous working here, that’s the downside. You can be internally famous, but you can't be externally famous," George said.

The NSA's secretive nature also brings a positive side effect in striking a work-life balance.

"If you come here, you really can't take work home with you," George said. "That’s a bonus."

August 5, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

You can't take work home with you, but our duty hours make interns and 1st year associates look like slackers....

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Aug 5, 2011 4:01:23 PM

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