Critical Read

CIOs on cyber workers


A new report seeks to help agency leaders understand the cybersecurity workforce. (Stock image)

What: The federal CIO Council's 2012 Information Technology Workforce Assessment for Cybersecurity.

Why: The ITWAC, released April 3, is the government's first attempt to inventory the full range of the federal civilian IT workforce with cybersecurity responsibilities. According to the authors, the report aims to help agency leaders:

- "understand the scope of the cybersecurity workforce pipeline;"

- "establish a baseline of current cybersecurity capabilities and proficiencies;" and

- "identify the general training needs of the cybersecurity workforce."

The report found that most federal cybersecurity personnel were in the GS-11 to GS-13 pay grades, and barely 5 percent were 30 years old or younger. More training is required, the authors suggest, with Information assurance compliance, vulnerability assessment and management, and knowledge management being the most pressing specialty areas.

Verbatim: "The data suggests that the majority of the participants are above the age of 40, with most being closer to the retirement age threshold.... [T]his data indicates potential risk to the current and future pipeline of cybersecurity professionals. An aging cybersecurity professional population could lead to a manpower shortage in the federal cybersecurity field (particularly in management and leadership positions).

Full Report:

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of, Schneider also helped launch the political site in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times,, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.

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Reader comments

Fri, Apr 5, 2013

Their measuring tape- the infamous 8570.1 reg, and the new renumbered reg replacing it, is close to useless. IT Security theater, checking boxes on a form to see who has the $5k pieces of wallpaper from boot camps taught to the test, and little long-term knowledge retention, or relationship to actual job duties, in many cases. The diploma mill companies running the boot camps are making out like bandits, and as usual, the taxpayers are the losers. Training should be brought back in-house, and designed around the actual duty sets.

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