The Department of Homeland Security is nearing the finish line in one of its key efforts to improve its ability to hire and retain cybersecurity professionals with the imminent standup of the DHS Cybersecurity Service (DHS-CS), which will be governed by a new talent management system designed to be more agile and market sensitive.
An interim final rule establishing the Cybersecurity Talent Management System (CTMS) was published Thursday in the Federal Register with the rule set to become final on Nov. 15. DHS is also seeking comments on the rule through the end of this year.
“With CTMS, DHS is creating a new type of Federal civil service position, called a qualified position, and the cadre of those positions and the individuals appointed to them is called the DHS Cyber Security Service,” says the Aug. 26 notice in the Federal Register. “CTMS will govern talent management for the DHS-CS through specialized practices for hiring, compensation, and development. Individuals selected to join the DHS-CS will be provided with a contemporary public service career experience, which emphasizes continual learning and contributions to DHS cybersecurity mission execution.”
Filling demand for its cybersecurity workforce needs has been a challenge for DHS and the federal government, in large part because the private sector pays more and can rapidly onboard new employees and isn’t encumbered with the slow job hiring processes utilized by the government. However, the U.S. as a whole is grappling with a high demand, low supply challenge for cyber talent, with estimates of about 500,000 cybersecurity jobs vacant.
Earlier in August, Jen Easterly, director of the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said that the CTMS will enable a new way to hire to allow the department to pay employees “closer to market” salaries and hire people faster. Easterly also said that she is “going to be relentlessly focused” on this issue.
In addition to striving for market-based pay, DHS says that CTMS will provide additional compensation opportunities such as for extensive overtime and mission impact.