Oversight

DHS lags in classifying cyber positions

Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen 

A 2014 law put the Department of Homeland Security on the hook for classifying and coding cybersecurity positions. According to an oversight report, DHS is way behind.

It may sound mundane and weedy, but the intention of the Homeland Security Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act of 2014 was to create a framework for identifying and filling gaps to better protect agency systems and support governmentwide and private sector cybersecurity.

The job codes are used to define roles and specific tasks for cybersecurity duties at the department, including crucial back office work such as program management and system administration. The law also requires the agency to identify and report its most critical workforce needs for future planning.

According to the Government Accountability Office study released Feb. 6, DHS has work to do on accomplishing the goals of the statute. GAO concluded that DHS overestimated the percentage of coded positions in an August 2017 report to Congress. GAO found the department had only coded approximately 79 percent of the positions at that time while DHS said it was hitting 95 percent – a tally arrived at by not including vacant posts, GAO said.

The GAO made six recommendations to DHS to make sure it is identifying cyber workforce critical needs, procedures, vacancies and responsibilities, as well as accurately reporting workforce data.

In comments, DHS said it planned to execute on GAO's recommendations by the end of June 2018.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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