OMB, OPM chart helps agencies identify cyber talent gaps

The Office of Management and Budget has added a resource chart to its MAX site to help agencies organize their cyber talent gaps. Agencies have until mid-Decemb...

With just five weeks to go before the deadline for civilian agencies to submit their job codes for specialty cyber roles, the Office of Management and Budget has added a resource chart to its MAX site to help organize cyber talent gaps as they are identified.

In a guidance issued Nov. 23 by Mark Reinhold, Office of Personnel Management CHCO and associate director for employee services, a link to a resource template is provided with instructions to upload their completed chart by Dec. 17.

“Each agency Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) and their cyber data element point of contact will have access to the OMB MAX page to access their resource chart and will upload their completed chart to the same page,” the guidance stated. “OPM has been working with CHCO agencies’ human resources and CIO representatives on the Special Cyber Workforce Project. OPM will send the representatives their recent coding data.The agency representatives are listed within the OMB MAX site link. … We strongly encourage human resources and CIO staff to partner on this effort.”

The template stems from OMB’s new cybersecurity strategy and implementation plan (CSIP) for civilian agencies, which was announced in late October. The plan identified recruitment and retention of highly skilled cybersecurity experts as one of five major priorities.

According to the plan, agency CHCOs and chief information officers are expected to identify the top five cyber gaps they see within their agencies and report them to OPM and OMB.

“Agencies should use methods that are consistent with their workforce planning processes to calculate their top five cyber talent gaps,” the memo stated. “In determining the ‘supply,’ or their current (on-board) cyber workforce, agencies will use their coding data, along with other factors such as the current use of contractors to perform cyber work, the adequacy of cyber employees’ proficiencies or certifications, etc. Agencies must pay particular attention to assess the ‘demand,’ or their future cyber needs and requirements, to ensure we identify the cyber workforce needed. The difference between the supply and demand will inform agencies’ lists of their top five cyber talent gaps.”

OPM also released a memo that provides information on currently available hiring authorities and pay and leave flexibilities, which can be used “to fill and retain individuals in cybersecurity positions.”

“As technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated and the threats to our data security intensify, the demand for an experienced and qualified workforce to protect networks and information systems has never been higher,” the memo stated.

Identifying cyber talent gaps is part of a long-term vision that builds off a 30-day cyber sprint aimed at boosting federal cybersecurity.

On Oct. 30, federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott and OMB Director Shaun Donovan signed off on two memos: CSIP and the annual guidance for Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) reporting.

Both documents draw on agency progress during the cyber sprint as well as the ongoing insight and recommendations from federal CIOs, from the mandates in the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) and the recent update of a new draft Circular A-130.

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