The Department of Defense (DoD) on Feb. 15 released an updated version of its cyber workforce plan, providing more role-specific requirements for a more targeted and flexible approach to modernizing the department’s cyber workforce.

The DoD Manual (DoDM) 8140.03, The Cyberspace Workforce Qualification and Management Program, is the third issue of a policy series – last updated in December 2021 – which provides a targeted, role-based approach to identify, develop, and qualify cyber personnel.

The policy series creates a baseline requirement by role and proficiency level to enhance cyberspace mission readiness across the DoD. It will require workforce members to demonstrate a foundational understanding at the work role level while also addressing personnel capability and continuous professional development.

“Through these mechanisms, we will be able to track and manage cyber workforce capabilities across the DoD enterprise,” DoD Chief Information Officer John Sherman said in a statement.

The DoDM 8140.03 replaces the DoD 8570 Manual – Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program – which focused solely on qualifying a section of the cybersecurity workforce centered on information assurance and computer network defense professionals using a narrow set of requirements.

According to the department, with the implementation of DoDM 8140.03, DoD components will have a broad set of options to manage and achieve a qualified cyber workforce in the areas of information technology, cybersecurity, cyber effects, cyber intelligence, and cyber enablers.

The updated plan comes as the agency prepares to release its new cyber workforce strategy to guide overall staffing and recruitment efforts. The strategy will include four pillars to guide DoD’s cyber-related staffing efforts, including identification, recruitment, development, and retention.

“The manual will guide the department’s ability to verify and advance capabilities for all 225,000 DoD cyber workforce civilians, military personnel, and contractors. Together, the upcoming DoD Cyber Workforce Strategy and DoD 8140 will enable the DoD to develop and deploy an agile, capable, and ready cyber workforce,” said Patrick Johnson, director of the DoD Workforce Innovation Directorate.

In addition, the standards and requirements detailed in the manual are to be used in conjunction with the Office of Personnel Management’s Qualification Standards, according to the DoD. Additionally, all training that meets DoD Cyberspace Operations Forces requirements will be accepted.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.