Workforce

Defense Digital hunts tech talent with new recruiting contract

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The Defense Digital Service is drilling in on hiring and recruitment with a new $7 million pilot that will utilize private sector talent-hunting strategies to fill technical jobs across the Defense Department.

Five companies -- Catch Talent, Comtech, Foxhound Federal, PrishanTek, and TeraSense – are sharing in a $7 million contract for the Civilian Hiring as a Service pilot. The companies are tasked with "proactively identifying, conducting initial vetting of, and converting technical talent from the private sector into civilian positions within the Department of Defense", according to the FedBizOpps post on the award. The award was made May 3 but posted May 21.

The DDS pilot, which extends to April 2020, will target candidates with backgrounds in computer science, product management, and user experience design and focus on premium customer service to better ensure personnel recruitment.

"Today's federal hiring system isn't meeting the growing need for talented technical people," DDS said in a statement announcing the award. "Now we are working to help the DOD rethink how it approaches cyber hiring and pilot a new way to recruit tech talent and fill critical positions. If we are going to bring in the best talent, it must become far easier for these people to join."

The award comes as DDS welcomes a new director and as DOD, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House put renewed focus on attracting and retaining tech talent. For DOD, the issue has been a storied pain point underscored by the Cyber Excepted Service, which has been stymied by too few personnel and a security clearance backlog.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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