GAO: Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Intiatives Lack Focus

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, federal cybersecurity workforce initiatives are in need of better planning and coordination, particularly with regards to human capital.

GAOAccording to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, federal cybersecurity workforce initiatives are in need of better planning and coordination, particularly with regards to human capital.

A study by the government’s watchdog of the seven federal agencies with the largest IT budgets found that most were beset with inconsistent policies for developing their cybesecurity workforce. Five of the seven had addressed some key principles in their IT security workforce plans, while the remaining had no concrete plans as of yet to address their workforce needs.

The GAO assessment focused on the extent to which federal agencies have implemented and established workforce planning practices for security personnel and the status of and plans for government wide workforce initiatives. They analyzed the agencies with the largest IT budgets: the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs, in addition to the the National Science Foundation and the Offices of Personal Management and Management and Budget. 

Of the five agencies that had recognizable plans to promote their IT security workforce, all had trouble with security clearance processes as they attempt to fill highly technical positions. Various departments, especially the Department of Defense, are employing incentives to lure talent, but there is no data that shows the effectiveness of such incentives according to the GAO report. The GAO says that all but two of the federal agencies examined agreed with the GAO’s recommendations and replied with comments on steps to address them.

You can find the entire report here [PDF].

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