DHS Launches Portal to Recruit—and Retain—Cybersecurity Talent – Nextgov

Current Department of Homeland Security employees are not obligated to join the department’s new Cyber Talent Management System, but they may want to consider it, according to senior DHS officials.

“The DHS Cybersecurity Talent Management System fundamentally re-imagines how the Depart…….

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Current Department of Homeland Security employees are not obligated to join the department’s new Cyber Talent Management System, but they may want to consider it, according to senior DHS officials.

“The DHS Cybersecurity Talent Management System fundamentally re-imagines how the Department hires, develops, and retains top-tier and diverse cybersecurity talent,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a release Monday. “As our nation continues to face an evolving threat landscape, we cannot rely only on traditional hiring tools to fill mission-critical vacancies.  This new system will enable our Department to better compete for cybersecurity professionals and remain agile enough to meet the demands of our critical cybersecurity mission.” 

The department’s CTMS has been eight years in the making. Today a rule establishing the new system takes effect, and there’s a new website where those interested in exploring a different government model of assessment and compensation for their cybersecurity work can apply to be considered.  

“Through moving to CTMS, for our current employees that are interested, they will have significantly more flexibility and opportunities for growth in their career,” one senior DHS official told reporters Friday. “They’ll be able to explore and pursue with their managers without needing to apply for an entirely new job like they would today and we think that’s going to be a very compelling rationale to our employees.”

The officials said a recent sprint Mayorkas announced to address the department’s cybersecurity workforce needs was successful and that the CTMS will keep building on those gains.

“He set an aggressive goal to hire 200 cyber personnel in 60 days,” the officials said. “We exceeded that goal by nearly 50%, hiring nearly 300 new personnel with an additional 500 tentative job offers issued.” But there are still about 1,500 cybersecurity vacancies at DHS and retaining cyber talent—in addition to getting more in the door—is an important part of the equation for maintaining an effective workforce.  

DHS’ authority to get around rules based on a merit system that rewards longevity and requires individuals to compete for their positions has gotten a cool reception from some who fear nepotism and similar abuses of the system will take over. A major federal workers’ union is among those expressing concern about a lack of appropriate oversight. 

But officials are optimistic that new simulations they’ve built with psychologists to test for relevant competencies will ultimately provide a better quality, as well as quantity and range, of cybersecurity workers.

“This is to get at folks’ actual skills, versus how well they can put together a resume,” another senior DHS official said briefing reporters.  

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Source: https://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2021/11/dhs-launches-portal-recruitand-retaincybersecurity-talent/186826/

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