New cyber detail opportunities open for current federal employees

The Trump administration announced 10 cybersecurity detail opportunities, which are designed to give current federal employees, including the graduates of the C...

The Trump administration has opened up a series of temporary detail assignments in cybersecurity, with the goal of giving interested federal employees a chance to gain hands-on experience and fill critical vacancies in the field.

The details are open to current federal employees with applicable skills, including the graduates of the Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy, the administration said Wednesday.

“We cannot overcome the shortage in the federal cybersecurity workforce overnight,” Suzette Kent, federal chief information officer, said in a statement. “By continuing to invest and support reskilling programs, coupled with hands-on opportunities to apply those skills, the federal government is positioning itself to strengthen our cybersecurity workforce capabilities.”

There are 10 cyber details posted on “Open Opportunities,” a micro-site within that lists professional development announcements for current federal employees and interns.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for at least 10 people to help with the agency’s ongoing electronic health record modernization efforts.

VA, for example, is looking for junior cybersecurity specialists to develop and review authority to operate (ATO) and authority to connect (ATC) packages.

Detailees will recommend changes to existing ATO documents and will manage and validate those packages in accordance with VA and Defense Department requirements, the job announcement reads. Other VA detailees will manage joint cybersecurity and data protection program activities.

VA cyber details are located in Washington, D.C., and cite a time commitment of 24-to-40 hours a week.

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking for several employees to develop metrics for the agency’s Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) risk management assessments, analyze cyber defense policies and serve as secure software and security control assessors.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is looking for two-to-five vulnerability assessment analysts.

Most cyber details are located in the Washington area, though the EPA has some positions open in Durham, North Carolina. Positions range from GS-7s to 15s.

The Office of Personnel Management late last year had teased the idea of creating a job rotation program for graduates of the cyber reskilling academy, most of whom had passed the program with flying colors but couldn’t find new positions using their newly attained expertise.

Though demand in the reskilling program was high — more than 1,500 employees applied for the first cohort — some of the employees who went through the academy have gone back to their previous jobs, and remain uncertain about their prospects of moving to a new job in federal IT.

The scenario had frustrated administration officials, who had bemoaned the fact that reskilling academy graduates couldn’t take the cyber positions they had hoped to fill without accepted a lower pay grade.

The administration had initially envisioned reskilling academy graduates would train to become cyber defense analysts. It offered cyber reskilling courses to a second cohort of federal employees last summer.

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