WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and John Hoeven (R-ND) today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to develop and retain highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals in the federal workforce. Agencies across the federal government face growing cyber threats, but struggle to hire and retain qualified cybersecurity employees. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Peters and Hoeven as original cosponsors.
“The federal government faces mounting cybersecurity threats, from attacks on our critical infrastructure to security breaches that reveal millions of Americans’ personal information,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that the federal government has the skilled workforce in place to combat emerging threats and help federal employees cultivate new skills and expertise in this in-demand field.”
“Our legislation is all about ensuring the federal workforce is adequately prepared to prevent and respond to growing cybersecurity threats,” said Senator Hoeven. “This issue touches every corner of the government’s operations. By creating opportunities for our nation’s cybersecurity professionals to further develop their knowledge and skills, our bill will empower the federal government to attract and retain a talented workforce, while also enhancing our national security.”
“Federal agencies face many challenges in recruiting and maintaining a skilled IT workforce. As a result, our committee must focus on the federal cyber talent gap,” said Senator Johnson. “This bill helps make federal cybersecurity jobs more attractive for both current federal employees and future job-seekers.”
“As our country continues to face ever-evolving cybersecurity threats, it’s critical that we have a strong workforce in the federal government that can help combat those threats and prevent cyberattacks from occurring,” Senator Hassan said. “By working to develop and retain highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals in the federal workforce, this bipartisan bill will help bolster the safety and privacy of Granite Staters and Americans, while also giving hard-working people the opportunity to better hone their skills that are important to success in the 21st century innovation economy.”
The Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act would create a civilian personnel rotation program for cybersecurity professionals at federal agencies that face cybersecurity challenges. Based on existing Joint Duty and rotational programs, this program would enable civilian cyber workforce employees in one agency to work in a rotational, temporary capacity in another agency to gain experience beyond their home agency. These rotations allow federal cyber professionals to develop multiagency and policy expertise on cyber threats and expand their professional networks.
During two Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearings last year, Peters questioned top DHS cyber officials about the need for cyber workforce development and the role that a rotational program could play in expanding and retaining civilian talent. Officials and academic scholars agreed that unique opportunities like a rotational program would support hiring, developing, and retaining cyber talent.