The Department of Defense (DoD) has released its long-awaited cyber workforce implementation plan, which outlines a foundation for DoD to successfully execute the objectives and initiatives aligned with the Cyber Workforce Strategy, which was released back in March.

DoD Chief Information Officer (CIO) John Sherman explained that if executed properly the implementation plan “will have a profound impact on how [the department] structures and implements” programs that support cyber efforts and initiatives within programs across the department, such as zero trust and the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) program.

“Maintaining a highly skilled cyber workforce is vital to protecting our nation against global cyber threats,” Sherman said. “This implementation plan covers how the department will take progressive measures to cultivate a workforce that is flexible and responsive in an ever-changing cyber domain.”

The Cyber Workforce Strategy, which extends to 2027, outlines four human capital pillars – identifying workforce requirements, recruiting talent, developing talent to meet mission requirements, and retaining talent to resolve the department’s workforce retention challenge.

According to the department, the implementation plan will assist the DoD in advancing talent management initiatives aimed at fostering an agile, flexible, and responsive cyber workforce.

“Our goal is to ensure we are not only finding and hiring a diverse group of highly skilled cyber professionals but also developing the tools, resources, and partnerships required to continue growing these individuals,” said Patrick Johnson, director for the department’s Workforce Innovation Directorate.

The Pentagon’s cyber workforce spans at least 150,000 military and civilian positions but currently suffers from a 25 percent vacancy rate. The strategy acknowledges that the cyber talent pipeline is still limited, and the DoD must expand the workforce with diverse roles.

In addition, the DoD expects the Implementation Plan to adapt over time so the department can best support the cyber workforce. DoD components will also continue to build and improve action planning efforts to achieve the goals and objectives of the strategy.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.