The Department of Defense (DoD) still has more work to do in properly coding its filled and vacant positions for its civilian cyber workforce, the DoD Inspector General (IG) said in a report made public August 2.
The IG found that while the DoD has made strides to comply with the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act – which requires these positions to be coded for – including issuing a DoD Coding Guide, the Pentagon’s efforts do not consistently meet its own standards.
“With the exception of the Department of the Army, the DoD Components we reviewed did not always comply with work role coding requirements because the DoD Components did not have a quality assurance process that ensured compliance with the DoD Coding Guide,” the report says. “The DoD may be unable to properly target its recruitment and retention efforts without completely and accurately coding all of its civilian cyber positions.”
DoD Acting CIO John Sherman said the coding work should be done by the end of the calendar year, and said the department is developing a dashboard to show where DoD has its personnel systems and manpower, according to the IG. The dashboard would also show the coded filled and unfilled cyber workforce positions to correspond with that data.
The internal watchdog report was not all bad news, however.
The IG found that DoD did take action to meet goals for recruitment and retention on its civilian cyber workforce, such as the development of an enterprise-level aptitude test and further utilization of programs like the DoD Cyber Scholarship program and the DoD Cyber Information Technology Exchange Program.
Despite those strides, the inconsistent coding of positions leaves the department without all the information it needs to target those programs towards its greatest needs, the report says. The IG recommends the department require the coding of such positions and direct the DoD Chief Data Officer to conduct a feasibility study of the inclusion of a quality insurance program.
Finally, the IG recommended that DoD then implement the quality assurance program with either automation, manual work, or a combination of the two. Sherman agreed with all the IG’s recommendations.