At a glance

The new cybersecurity licensing proposal

Here's how the proposal would work

Q. What does this Senate cybersecurity proposal seek to do?

A. It would require that all government employees and contractors be certified and licensed if they provide cybersecurity services to an agency or for an information system the president designates as critical infrastructure.

Q. How many cybersecurity workers would be affected by the new requirement?

A. Certainly tens of thousands, though precise numbers are difficult to determine because the government does not have a separate job classification for cybersecurity workers.

Q. Is there a difference between certification and licensing?

A. IT certifications traditionally are created and administered by companies and nonprofit industry organizations. Licensing entails some government role in developing or approving the program.

Q. What kinds of training would be included in certification or licensing?

A. The Senate proposal does not state whether the government should use existing commercial programs or develop its own.

Q. Are there any similar requirements already in place in the government?

A. There are no governmentwide programs, but in 2004, the Defense Department started requiring certifications — but not licensing — for all workers who handle information assurance tasks. The requirement applies to 90,000 employees, but only about 30 percent of them have been certified through the program so far.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.