President Trump signed an executive order Thursday aimed at strengthening America’s cybersecurity workforce.
Trump’s move comes as the U.S. grapples with scores of cybersecurity vacancies nationwide, a trend that could ultimately threaten national security and the economy.
“America built the internet and shared it with the world; now we will do our part to secure and preserve cyberspace for future generations,” Trump said in a statement.
The White House said that Trump’s order comes as America seeks to fill more than 300,000 cybersecurity job vacancies.
Trump’s order aims to boost the nation’s cybersecurity workforce with numerous programs increasing the federal government’s role in the topic.
The order’s centerpiece is a new initiative allowing federal employees to expand their cybersecurity skills by temporarily working at other agencies besides their own.
The Homeland Security Department (DHS) announced Thursday that the effort is called the Federal Cybersecurity Rotational Program.
According to DHS, federal cybersecurity and IT workers can temporarily serve at the agency during the program. DHS added that similar employees at the department could also take stints at other agencies.
“America’s cybersecurity practitioners – whether working in the private sector or serving in the federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial governments – constitute a core element in our nation’s frontline defense, and we must urgently bolster them in the face of a myriad of cybersecurity threats,” DHS Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan said in a statement.
McAleenan also praised the Trump administration’s other cybersecurity maneuvers, particularly the other parts of the president’s new executive order.
“From enabling movement between the private and public sectors to supporting our workforce’s training, education, and development, the President’s action today sets the course to expand and sustain the workforce and ensure America keeps its competitive edge in the critical field of cybersecurity,” he said.
Trump’s order also revealed several other actions the president and his administration are making for America’s cybersecurity workforce.
For example, the order establishes a new “President’s Cup Cybersecurity Challenge” for promoting cybersecurity work within the federal government.
The order also creates the “Presidential Cybersecurity Education Awards,” which will recognize excellent elementary and secondary school educators who are teaching cybersecurity-related content.
Federal agencies will additionally identify cybersecurity aptitude assessments as part of the order, using them to reskill employees who show potential for roles in that area.
Finally, Trump’s order encourages the federal government to adopt the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education’s (NICE) cybersecurity workforce framework.
The NICE Framework was created by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in August 2017.
NICE’s Framework offers federal agencies a reference for identifying, recruiting, developing and retaining cybersecurity talent.
Trump’s administration has repeatedly focused on cybersecurity, with the president notably introducing the first national strategy on the subject in 15 years in 2018.
Cybersecurity was also listed as a priority in Trump’s National Security Strategy when that document debuted in 2017.
Despite Trump’s efforts, cybersecurity remains a frequent concern for federal, state and local agencies due to today’s growing threat landscape.
Modern cybersecurity threats include cybercriminals, hacktivists and even antagonistic foreign governments.
Experts often list China, Iran, North Korea and Russia as the nations whose governments present the biggest cybersecurity threats to America’s economy and security.