In an effort to address the cybersecurity skills gap and create a more resourceful and effective cybersecurity workforce, the US Senate has passed the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2019.
In 2017 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that the country’s cyber workforce challenges posed high risk and reported that “the federal government needs to expand its cyber workforce planning and training efforts. Federal agencies need to enhance efforts for recruiting and retaining a qualified cybersecurity workforce and improve cybersecurity workforce planning activities.”
The act, which was unanimously passed on May 1, is intended “to create a rotational cyber workforce program in which Federal employees in cyber workforce positions can be detailed to another agency to perform cyber functions. This program will enable Federal cyber workforce employees to enhance their cyber skills with experience from executing the cyber missions of other agencies.”
Enabling the mobility of cybersecurity practitioners will allow them to serve in various roles across different entities, which Keenan Skelly, VP of global partnerships at Circadence, said is critical in order for this government to address the cybersecurity skills gap that exists not just in the US but globally.
“Allowing cybersecurity professionals to gain experience in multiple agencies, both government and private sector, will strengthen our overall cybersecurity posture,” Skelly said.
An additional goal of the act is to develop cybersecurity skills so that America can maintain its competitive edge in cybersecurity. As such, the act provides that “the United States Government must also recognize and reward the country’s highest-performing cybersecurity practitioners and teams.”
Because the concept of rewards is often lost in the job of a cyber defender, Skelly said, “we must encourage and recognize those who go above and beyond.
“The aptitude for cybersecurity lies not only in the technical fields but across the entire workforce. Most of the best cyber defenders I know started life out as something completely different. We need that diversity of thinking and skill, both technical and soft skills, to combat today’s hackers.”