Federal Cyber Officials Tackling Workforce Challenges

Federal cybersecurity officials spoke about the strategies they’re pursuing to address workforce issues within their agencies during a Sept. 18 Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Cybersecurity Summit panel.

Federal cybersecurity officials spoke about the strategies they’re pursuing to address workforce issues within their agencies during a Sept. 18 Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Cybersecurity Summit panel.

Amid discussions of engaging young people early in cybersecurity, recruiting, and retraining, Defense Department CISO Jack Wilmer provided a notable metric, saying that through the Cyber Excepted Service program – which involves looking at DoD’s whole civilian workforce lifecycle to address the cyber talent gap – U.S. Cyber Command has reduced hiring times by 60 percent.

“The Cyber Excepted Service Program is going to hopefully allow us to better connect the people interested in serving that mission with the actual jobs, [and reduce the amount of time it takes to hire,” Wilmer added.

National Security Agency (NSA) Cyber Director Anne Neuberger, FBI Cybersecurity Deputy Assistant Director Tonya Ugoretz, and Federal CIO Suzette Kent also emphasized community engagement both within and outside of the Federal sphere to highlight the unique ways in which they have encouraged young people and adults alike to enter cybersecurity positions.

Programs such as skills assessments and aptitude tests have gotten large numbers of Federal employees interested in cyber positions, Kent and Ugoretz said. Ugoretz added that the FBI has a six-month job training program to train internal FBI employees to work on cyber issues in their field offices.

Neuberger said that getting young people involved through programs like Gen Cyber Camps have engaged more than 3,000 students across 38 states in cybersecurity. She added that NSA did a Cracking the Code for STEM Careers program to reach out to and recruit individuals interested in STEM more broadly.

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