Bill Aims to Boost Federal Cybersecurity Workforce

Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, especially in the federal government. In an environment where cyber knowledge is more valuable than ever, two lawmakers have proposed legislation that would allow skilled cyber workers concentrated in one agency to tackle problems at other agencies.

Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., reintroduced the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act on Thursday to create a program that would allow federal cybersecurity specialists to work at multiple agencies in a rotational program. This would address the cyber workforce shortage that the federal government faces due to challenges in hiring and retention, constant competition with the private sector, and difficulty replacing trained federal employees. The shortage coincides with the emergence of more threats than ever in an increasingly utilized and critical cyberspace.

“The private data of millions of Americans and sensitive infrastructural system information are the routine targets of sophisticated cyber-attacks, and it is crucial that the federal government trains and retains highly skilled personnel who can repel a wide variety of cyber threats,” Sen. Peters stated. “This bipartisan legislation will promote collaboration between agencies and provide pathways for federal employees to advance their careers and broaden their cybersecurity expertise.”

Under the program, which was modeled after existing programs like Joint Duty, federal cyber workforce employees in one agency would work in a temporary capacity in another agency to tackle different challenges than what they might be used to. In this way, they will broaden their expertise and professional networks while also contributing their knowledge to an agency that might have weaker security infrastructures and need a fresh perspective.

Government cybersecurity jobs can also become more competitive with the private sector through this program because future government employees know they will encounter a vast array of cybersecurity challenges during their time on the job.

“Our legislation will help retain our existing workforce while also boosting collaboration between agencies so we are better equipped to deal with sophisticated cybersecurity threats,” Sen. Hoeven said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash

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Avatar photo Blake Martin

Very interesting! I know lots of folks in government would appreciate and learn from this type of a rotational program, but I worry/wonder how this will be received by Congress. Excited to see where this goes…