Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Thune, R-S.D., introduced new legislation Monday to address the cybersecurity workforce shortage plaguing the Federal government. The legislation, called the Cyber Security Exchange Act, would establish a public-private cybersecurity worker exchange program.
“Our country’s cybersecurity should be a top priority, but currently, our government needs additional cyber security experts to ensure we are not vulnerable to attacks from adversaries and cybercriminals,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will allow our Federal agencies to work with private sector experts at the top of the cybersecurity field to help ensure that our networks are protected.”
Essentially, the bill would allow the government to recruit cyber experts from both the private sector and academia to do limited tours of duty–up to two years–in the Federal government. On top of that, Federal agencies would also create a program through which their workers would be able to do similar tours of duty in the private sector to learn best practices, which can then be used to improve the government’s cybersecurity posture and further secure the Federal government’s computer systems and critical infrastructure.
“This is a great opportunity for Federal government agencies to tap into the vast cybersecurity resources that exist in the private sector and academia, as well as bolster the capabilities of their counterparts,” Thune said. “Ensuring the cybersecurity of our nation is an all-hands priority, and the exchange of ideas and best practices that this bill would facilitate would better position our national security community to tackle the cyber threats of the future.”
This is not the only legislation targeting cybersecurity workforce challenges. On Feb. 7, Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., reintroduced the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Act, which was initially introduced in the previous Congress.
The bill would “establish a civilian personnel rotation program for Federal cybersecurity professionals at agencies that confront cybersecurity challenges,” according to a press release from when the bill was first introduced. The program would operate on a short-term basis, with cybersecurity professionals serving no more than a year at another agency. The goal of the program is to help Federal cyber professionals “develop multiagency and policy expertise on cyber threats.”
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will consider the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Act during a business meeting on Wednesday. There is no hearing or business meeting currently scheduled to discuss the Cyber Security Exchange Act.