The federal government must design and implement a coordinated strategic blueprint to recruit and retain cybersecurity expertise in the federal workforce, according to a new report by the Partnership for Public Service. "There's been a lot of attention recently on cybersecurity attacks," said Bob Lavigna, vice president of research at the partnership, on Tuesday. "But [the government] can't win the cybersecurity war unless it wins the war for talent."
The report reveals four challenges that threaten the quality of the federal cybersecurity workforce: a pipeline of new talent that is inadequate, fragmented governance and uncoordinated leadership that hinders the ability to meet federal cybersecurity workforce needs, complicated processes and rules that hamper recruitment and retention efforts, and a disconnect between front-line hiring managers and government's human resources specialists.
To offset those challenges, the report recommends that the White House cybersecurity coordinator, once designated by President Obama, develop a governmentwide strategic blueprint for meeting current and future cybersecurity job needs. Key officials in defense, intelligence and civilian information security fields should also reach agreement on new, up-to-date job classification for cybersecurity functions, the report said, and Congress should provide significant funding to train federal cybersecurity workers. The government also should reform the hiring process and provide agencies with greater hiring flexibilities and invest in management skills, the report states.