President Biden on June 21 signed a bill that establishes a cybersecurity rotational workforce program within the Federal government.
The Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2021 will create a rotational cyber workforce program, enabling Federal employees to rotate among different government agencies, and allowing them to gain experience beyond their primary assignments and expand their professional networks.
The bill also authorizes an agency to determine whether a workforce position involving information technology, cybersecurity, or other cyber-related functions in that agency is eligible for the program.
The bill was introduced in April 2021 by Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev. It passed the Senate in December 2021 and the House in May 2022.
Agencies across the Federal government face growing cyber threats but struggle to hire and retain qualified cybersecurity employees. According to data from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in the United States there are over 714,000 open cybersecurity job roles – about 39,000 of those roles are in the public sector.
According to lawmakers, this new law will help recruit, develop, and retain highly skilled cybersecurity professionals in the Federal workforce.
“As we have seen, cyber-attacks pose a significant threat to our national and economic security and will only continue to grow more sophisticated. That is why we need a highly-skilled Federal cybersecurity workforce that will enhance our nation’s ability to fight back against online threats from foreign adversaries and criminal hackers for years to come,” said Sen. Peters in a previously released statement.
“Our legislation will help the Federal government to meet the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals by developing a rotational cyber workforce program that enables Federal employees to serve across multiple government agencies and expand their skills,” said Sen. Hoeven. “This is vital to our national security and ensuring that the Federal government has the capable professionals needed to meet our nation’s cybersecurity challenges.”
Additionally, the bill requires the Office of Personnel Management to issue a program operation plan providing policies, processes, and procedures for detailing employees among rotational cyber workforce positions at agencies.
It also directs the Government Accountability Office to assess the operation and effectiveness of the rotational cyber workforce program by addressing the extent to which agencies have participated in the program and the experiences of employees serving in the program.