DHS has exploded its cybersecurity talent recruitment system


Written by Dave Nyczepir

The Department of Homeland Security “blew up” federal hiring by designing a cyber-talent management system that will offer market-sensitive compensation at all levels, its director of human capital said on Tuesday.

Testifying before a Senate subcommittee Angela Bailey said DHS is investing in economic surveys to clarify wages in a way that will not “necessarily” be in line with the old General Annex (GS) system .

DHS is currently working with subject matter experts to determine the technical and leadership skills they need and to establish cutting-edge assessments. The goal is to move away from the “post and pray” way of recruiting talent on the federal government job board. UNITED STATES JOBS, Bailey said.

“We’re going to have the ability to go to Black Hat and some of the different conferences and be able to recruit directly and make job offers directly to these people from these different technical conferences and things like that.” , she told the Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management Subcommittee.

All new DHS hiring regulations are expected to be approved by spring 2020 with first hires no later than that summer. The department has created a new portal for job applications and will invest up to $ 40,000 in training, Bailey said.

During the hearing, subcommittee chairman James Lankford, R-Okla., Raised concerns about cybersecurity personnel leaving government for the private sector and then returning.

“In some specialties, frankly, we agree with that,” Bailey said. “In the cyber world, I don’t really expect someone to come and be a 30-year-old employee.” She added, “We’ll be able to keep track of these people and have almost a DHS alumni program if you want.”

The Cyber ​​talent management system will pay return staff to the required level with the experience and education they have gained in the private sector, Bailey said. The way the General Schedule now operates, a returning GS-11 would always be a GS-11, no matter what he had done and what degrees or certifications he had obtained while away.

The Government Accountability Office supports such rehiring practices as long as agencies measure their impact and meet legal requirements, said Yvonne Jones, director of the watchdog’s strategic issues team.

“We need to look for ways to make the hiring or re-hiring of federal staff more flexible, as long as the agency has thought about the policies it needs to do so,” Jones said.

The strategic management of human capital has been on the GAO High risk list due to skills shortages and inadequate workforce planning in areas such as cybersecurity and information technology.

A March GAO report found that most agencies likely misclassified the work roles of many IT and cyber positions, making it more difficult to identify critical staffing needs. Specifically, many agencies made a mistake in characterizing the GS-2210 IT Specialist professional category role or had not finished validating or defining GS-2210 positions, Jones said.

While seven agencies used their own standards to define the positions and decided not to code them as cybersecurity unless they do a certain percentage of cybersecurity-related work, 12 other agencies estimated that the Office of Personnel Management guidelines were not clear on how to code GS-2210 positions, she said.

The GAO also found that the OPM has yet to implement 29 recommendations since 2012 regarding the advice it offers to agencies regarding job categorizations.

The OPM needs to work “carefully” with other agencies to define roles, Jones said, and agencies can also form task forces and task forces.

“I wouldn’t expect OPM to have made much progress since [March],” she said.

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Cybersecurity, Cyber ​​Talent Management System, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), General Calendar, Government Accountability Office (GAO), Hiring, Information Technology, James Lankford, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Recruitment, USAJobs. gov workforce

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