WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and John Hoeven (R-ND) today introduced bipartisan legislation to train and help retain high-skilled cybersecurity professionals in the federal government. Despite growing cyber threats, the federal government faces a cyber workforce shortage due to hiring and retention challenges, competition with the private sector and difficulty refilling federal positions after an employee leaves.
“Our country faces an unprecedented level of sophisticated cyber-attacks that target the sensitive information of millions of Americans and threaten critical infrastructure,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “The federal government must have skilled personnel who are capable of repelling a wide range of cyber threats. The bipartisan legislation I am introducing today will boost collaboration between agencies and offer more opportunities for federal employees to enhance their careers and broaden their cybersecurity expertise.”
“Cybersecurity needs are constantly evolving and the federal government needs a workforce that possesses the technical skills and knowledge to counter increasingly sophisticated threats,” said Senator Hoeven, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “The goal of our legislation is to attract and retain cyber experts, as well as foster collaborative networks across government agencies that have the ability to meet current and future cybersecurity challenges.”
The Federal Cyber Joint Duty Program Act will establish a civilian personnel rotation program for federal cybersecurity professionals at non-military and non-intelligence agencies that confront cybersecurity challenges. Based on existing military and intelligence Joint Duty Programs, this program would enable employees in one agency to work in a rotational, temporary capacity in another agency to experience the federal enterprise beyond their home agency. In doing so, federal cyber professionals can develop multiagency and policy expertise on cyber threats and expand their professional networks.
During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this month, Peters questioned Lt. General Paul M. Nakasone, Commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command and nominee to serve as Director of the National Security Agency, about cyber workforce retention. Lt. General Nakasone highlighted Joint Duty Programs as an excellent way to recruit and retain federal cyber employees.