After finding that the government’s traditional approaches to hiring and retaining personnel for cyber security needs are outdated, the Department of Homeland Security is seeking input on 21st century approaches to its human capital needs for the federal cyber security workforce.

“To modernize the civil service for cybersecurity work, DHS has revisited some of the foundational theories and structures that underlie how the Federal Government has managed human capital for decades,” DHS says in a May 7 notice on the government’s procurement opportunities website. “In implementing the new cybersecurity-focused personnel system, DHS intends to update many of those theories and structures for the 21st century.”DHS Logo DHS

For example, the Request for Information says that some of the changes under consideration include more proactive hiring by regularly recruiting talent using targeted, validated techniques, rather than the traditional job listings with the hope that the right people apply.

DHS ultimately plans to select a vendor for its cyber security workforce assessment effort. The eventual contract would be for one year with four one-year options.

Another tool would be to apply market-sensitive pay that is aimed at attracting cyber security personnel rather than rely on the current rules that “are based on tenure and apply regardless of the field of work,” says the information request.

To make federal careers more attractive, DHS says it wants to “accommodate dynamic careers” that allow easy transitions between government and industry, across department components, using both permanent and temporary assignments. It says that current processes for career growth paths are rigid.

“Temporary assignments and details are exceptions to the norm, and static career paths limit advancement to a single occupational series or vertical, tenure-based career ladder,” the FebBizOpps post says.

The cross-component effort for the cyber security workforce assessment is being led by the DHS Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer. A move toward a new cyber security personnel system was authorized by the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014. Responses are due by May 25.