DHS kicks off workforce sprint with push to hire 200 cyber pros

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas characterized the new effort to hire cybersecurity personnel as the largest of its kind in the agency's history.

Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Wednesday his agency will begin its 60-day workforce sprint with an aggressive hiring campaign to expand the agency's cadre of cybersecurity professionals.

During remarks at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event, Mayorkas called the effort "the most significant hiring initiative that DHS has undertaken in its history." He also said Wednesday was the first day of the department's workforce sprint.

The secretary in March announced a series of concentrated 60-day efforts focusing on a variety of topics. The first was on ransomware, which was prioritized because of "the gravity of the threat" and because "the threat is not tomorrow's threat, but it is upon us," he said.

The new campaign, according to a DHS statement, aims to hire 200 cyber personnel by July 1. Half of those "conditional job offers" will be made by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency while the other half will be made by various DHS component agencies.

The cybersecurity workforce gap is well documented by projects such as CyberSeek, which tracks the workforce and is backed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Commerce.

The event on Wednesday was largely focused on the threat of ransomware to small businesses. Mayorkas in April said DHS had formed its own ransomware task force and the White House is actively developing a plan to confront the issue. The Department of Justice has also established its own ransomware taskforce in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the administration for several weeks now has been expected to publish a wide-ranging executive order focused on a myriad of cybersecurity issues.