Sincerest Form Of Flattery Moment: UK Government Copies The IDF’s Talpiot Scheme
Press release from the UK Government:
Francis Maude, Minister for Cabinet Office, announced the new Cyber First scheme to enhance the UK’s cyber security skills base.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office with responsibility for Cyber Security, today (24 March 2015) announced a new Cyber First scheme to enhance the UK’s cyber security skills base and meet the increasing demand of this rapidly growing sector.
Speaking in Parliament, the minister launched a pilot student sponsorship programme called Cyber First. This is aimed at identifying the individuals who have the aptitude to become the next generation of UK cyber security experts. Cyber First will draw on talent from the broadest range of backgrounds to meet the UK’s future national security needs in government or companies involved in national security. It will find those already showing potential for a top career in cyber security through school competitions such as the Cyber Security Challenge Schools Programme and national maths competitions.
Cyber First will offer both financial assistance for those studying relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses at undergraduate level and include work experience with government or UK private sector firms within the field of national security. There is a guarantee of employment upon graduation. GCHQ will run this as a pilot scheme which will provide funding of £4,000 for each of up to 20 student places. It is intended that a full scheme across participating departments, agencies and industry will be implemented in 2016, building on the pilot and lessons learned.
The scheme is based on the Israeli Talpiot scheme which identifies exceptional cyber promise to create a cyber elite force who go on to great careers in government and the private sector. Israel has more high-tech start-ups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country.
The Talipot scheme mentioned in that last paragraph is an ultra elite part of the Israeli Defence Forces. This isn’t elite in the SAS or Navy Seal meaning, this is academically and intellectually ultra elite. But it is still, very much, part of the compulsory military service that most Israelis go through. Somewhere around 50 youngsters are chosen each year for this unit and quite a few will drop out. It’s an intense combination of academic university education and military leadership training combined.
Talpiot program is an elite Israel Defense Forces training program, for recruits who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability in the sciences and leadership potential. Graduates of the Talpiot program pursue double higher education while serving in the army, and then utilize their expertise to further IDF research and development in technological leadership positions. The program was inaugurated in 1979.
It’s nice to see the UK Government strongly endorsing this part of the IDF by adopting its methods and aims even if they choose not to mention that it is part of the IDF in this press release.
H/t Matthew Kalman on Facebook.