Categories & Search

Executive Order: Cybersecurity Skill Gap in Federal Government

Last week President Trump issued an executive order targeted at improving the quality of the federal government’s cybersecurity workforce. The executive order—which acknowledges the shortage of qualified employees for cybersecurity jobs—would implement a number of steps to strengthen and expand cyber knowledge within the federal government.

First, the executive order directs the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management to create a “cybersecurity rotational assignment program,” which would allow technology and cybersecurity employees at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to swap places with their counterparts in other agencies. The program has other components as well, such as creation of a training curriculum and peer mentoring. The rotational program is similar in concept to one envisioned by the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2019, which passed the Senate at the end of April.

The executive order also requires incorporation of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NICE Framework) into different parts of the operation of the federal government, including federal skills programs. It also requires that the NICE Framework be incorporated into federal contracts with IT and cybersecurity services vendors.

The order has other miscellaneous provisions, such as creating a new Cybersecurity Educational Award to be awarded to primary and secondary school teachers, initiating an annual cybersecurity competition for federal employees, and requiring reporting by cabinet secretaries on issues such as “skill gaps” among federal cybersecurity employees.

The Executive Order has reportedly been popular with members of both parties, though some have noted that there is no dedicated funding for the new programs. News reports of a press call announcing the program suggest that the government may seek private funding for some of the new programs.