National Cyber Director Chris Inglis said Wednesday that the cyber workforce problem is a top priority.
National Cyber Director Chris Inglis says he has his eye on the cybersecurity workforce problem as a top priority. His office is actually looking to hire a cybersecurity workforce lead, and a national cyber workforce and education strategy is also in the pipeline.
"All of that is so important that I would place it first among the agendas that I have," Inglis said of workforce problems at a summit hosted by Billington Cybersecurity on Wednesday. "Getting technology right is important. Getting collaboration right is important. But if we don't get the people right, then none of the rest of it matters."
Currently, there are over 714,000 cyber job openings, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology-backed Cyberseek.
But the industry struggles to recruit and retain diverse talent to fill those jobs, and experts say that hurdles like expensive certifications and requirements for multiple years of experience for entry-level positions make it difficult to enter the field.
In July, Inglis hosted a workforce summit with representatives from academia, the private sector and other government partners, where he committed to writing a national cyber workforce and education strategy with input from stakeholders to improve collaboration across the government and align resources.
Inglis said Wednesday it will be "a framework and connective tissue that can take all these best practices, because we need to rethink everything."
He pointed specifically to diversity among the workforce, properly defining cyber jobs and the skills needed for them and helping those wanting to enter the field into the workforce.
"We too often find that someone who has the aspiration has no idea, no clue how to get to the destination. So whether it's apprenticeships or internships or co-ops, we need to stand in that middle space and help people get from A to B," he said.
Inglis' office is also hiring a director to focus on cyber workforce issues.
A key task for the new director will be to coordinate across government and the private sector on cybersecurity workforce education and training, according to the job posting.
Whoever takes the job will also work in workforce policy and strategy by coordinating across federal agencies to develop recommendations for policymakers and top officials, as well as planning and directing the development and rollout of cyber workforce policies.
The role will be at a General Schedule level of 14 or 15 with a minimum salary of $126,233 a year.