Seeking to shore up the United States’s ability to protect against a cyber attack on government, industry or energy infrastructure, Bechtel on Monday unveiled a program with two U.S. national security laboratories to fund multiyear positions for early-career professionals in critical cybersecurity fields.

The engineering, project management, and construction expert said the joint effort will recruit and cultivate cybersecurity experts who can strengthen networks by applying experience from national security environments and from industry. The company will collaborate on the program with Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories to better protect America’s cyber assets. Bechtel comanages Los Alamos and Livermore with the University of California and other partners.

“Cyber threats pose a danger to the government and the private sector. Bechtel protects assets in both areas and can uniquely join forces with two national laboratories,” said Craig Albert, president of Bechtel’s government services business unit. “When you combine the resources and expertise of our three organizations you have a program that will make significant contributions across a broad spectrum of cybersecurity areas.”

With recent technological advancements putting more and more business online, a lot of focus has been put on protecting critical national infrastructure, including power plants and natural gas and crude pipelines, from cyber attacks (see Daily GPI, April 8).

Under the Bechtel program, recruits will join each of the three organizations and spend time at the other two. “This is a cooperative commitment to the nation’s cybersecurity,” Albert said. “The first two years of each recruit’s program will be paid for entirely with corporate dollars with no taxpayer funding.”

Tom Gioconda, Bechtel deputy director at Lawrence Livermore, added, “Our firewalls withstand thousands of attacks each day. These young professionals will be on the front lines of this battle. They’ll emerge with great experience and connections with the nation’s experts in the field.”