House Passes Bill to Enhance Cyber Workforce

Measure would establish a task force to develop cyber training.

The House on Tuesday passed legislation that aims to help the federal government recruit, hire and train cybersecurity workers.

The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (H.R. 756), sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, passed the House by a vote of 402-16. The bill would establish a task force with representatives from the federal government, private sector and academia to coordinate research and development and improve training of cyber professionals.

The bill also would require the government to continue offering scholarships through the Scholarship for Service program, which pays for up to three years of tuition for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree students in cybersecurity programs in exchange for a service commitment. The legislation also would offer grants to universities to produce highly qualified cyber professionals.

The bill also would require the president to submit a report to Congress addressing the cybersecurity workforce needs of the federal government.

A report released earlier this month by the Federal Chief Information Officers Council warned of a potential personnel shortage in the federal cybersecurity field, largely because of an imbalance in the demographics of the workforce. For example, nearly 80 percent of federal cybersecurity workers are over age 40, with most being closer to the retirement age threshold, while just 5 percent of federal cyber workers are age 30 or younger, the report found.