Federal agencies are facing a severe shortage of computer specialists, even as a growing wave of coordinated cyberattacks against the government poses potential national security risks, a private study found, according to the Associated Press. The study describes a fragmented federal cyber force, where no one is in charge of overall planning and government agencies are "on their own and sometimes working at cross purposes or in competition with one another." The report, scheduled to be released Wednesday, arrives in the wake of a series of cyberattacks this month that shut down some U.S. and South Korean government and financial Web sites. The recruiting and retention of cyber workers is hampered by a cumbersome hiring process, the failure to devise government-wide certification standards, insufficient training and salaries, and a lack of an overall strategy for recruiting and retaining cyber workers, the study said. "You can’t win the cyber war if you don’t win the war for talent," said Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, a Washington-based advocacy group that works to improve government service. "If we don’t have a federal work force capable of meeting the cyber challenge, all of the cyber czars and organizational efforts will be for naught."

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