Bill to Bolster DHS Cyber Workforce Advances

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The department must hire 'the best and brightest that this emerging field has to offer,' lawmaker says.

The House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would require the Homeland Security Department to take additional measures to improve and assess the cybersecurity workforce.

The bill – the Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots on the Ground Act (H.R. 3107)  -- sponsored by Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., requires DHS to enhance efforts to bolster the cybersecurity workforce, in part by establishing occupations classifications and developing a strategy to address identified gaps in the cyber workforce.

“Across our nation, businesses, colleges and universities are transforming their organizations to include strong and robust security practices,” said committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas. “It is essential that DHS is hiring the best and brightest that this emerging field has to offer. The department’s efforts to protect the homeland from an attack depend on it.”  

More specifically, the legislation would:

  • Require that DHS develop and issue comprehensive occupation classifications for employees performing cybersecurity activities to be used across the department and shared with other federal agencies.
  • Require the DHS secretary, the department’s chief human capital officer and chief information officer perform an assessment of the readiness and capacity of the cyber workforce to include information on cybersecurity jobs, hiring, attrition and training.
  • Require the DHS secretary to develop a comprehensive workforce strategy that includes a multiphased recruitment plan and a 10-year projection of cyber workforce needs.
  • Establish a process that verifies on an ongoing basis that independent contractors employed in cybersecurity jobs at DHS receive initial and recurrent information security training.

Find out more about cybersecurity in goverment and other federal technology issues at Nextgov Prime on Nov. 20th - 21st. To register (it's free!), visit nextgov.com/prime