November 30, 2023

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U.S. DOD Strengthening the Cyber Workforce

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Kathleen Hicks, the Deputy Defense Secretary, approved the Department of Defense (DOD) Cyber Workforce Strategy, establishing the framework for developing a skilled and capable cyber workforce within the DOD. This strategy aims to equip personnel to effectively carry out diverse and intricate cyber missions.

Mark Gorak, the Principal Director for resources and analysis for DOD’s Chief Information Officer, emphasised the significance of the newly approved DOD Cyber Workforce Strategy. This strategy serves as a well-defined roadmap, guiding the advancement and cohesive management of the massive cyber workforce, which comprises approximately 225,000 highly skilled individuals, including civilians, military personnel, and contractors.

To ensure the successful realisation of this strategic vision, the Department of Defense has unveiled the “DOD Cyber Workforce Strategy Implementation Plan.” This comprehensive plan adopts a proactive and comprehensive approach, intending to bolster talent management initiatives, fostering an agile, flexible, and highly responsive cyber workforce.

As Gorak elaborated, the implementation plan forms the bedrock upon which the department will effectively execute the 22 crucial objectives and 38 initiatives, and all interconnected with the four overarching goals enshrined within the Cyber Workforce Strategy.

Through this well-structured and systematic approach, the department aims to unleash the full potential of its cyber workforce, empowering them to tackle the ever-evolving challenges in the realm of cybersecurity with precision and ingenuity.

Moreover, the Cyber Workforce Strategy outlines four key objectives to enhance the Department’s cyber capabilities. First, it seeks to proactively execute continuous capability assessments and analyses to address evolving force needs. Second, the strategy emphasises establishing an enterprise-wide talent management programme to ensure that force capabilities align effectively with present and future requirements.

Third, it envisions a cultural shift that optimises personnel management activities across the Department, fostering a more agile and dynamic workforce. Finally, the strategy emphasises the importance of promoting collaboration and forging partnerships to boost capability development and operational effectiveness and provide enriching career opportunities for personnel within the Department.

Through these focused goals, the Department of Defense aims to create a robust and adaptable cyber workforce equipped to address the ever-changing landscape of cybersecurity challenges.

“We are committed to achieving these goals and objectives, and to ensure their success, we will measure and monitor our progress on a set battle rhythm. Holding ourselves and our executing organisations accountable is crucial in this endeavour,” remarked Gorak regarding the implementation plan.

He further emphasised the importance of cultivating an institutional culture that attracts and retains the most talented workforce. It entails rethinking traditional business approaches, revolutionising how the Department identifies, recruits, develops, and has its cyber talent, and breaking away from past norms.

The DOD’s cyber workforce is a pillar of defence, safeguarding the nation against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. The DOD Cyber Workforce Strategy serves as a blueprint to sustain this vital workforce’s strength and agility, ensuring its readiness to tackle existing and future cyber challenges. The release of the DOD Cyber Workforce Strategy Implementation Plan marks a significant step in bringing this strategy to life, ensuring its effective implementation and subsequent positive impact on the Department’s cyber defence capabilities.

“The threats facing our nation are relentless, and our adversaries are vigilant, observing our every move,” Gorak underscored. “Imminent cyberattacks loom on the horizon, and our calling to defend and protect our nation’s digital domain remains unwavering.”

As the Department of Defense takes proactive measures to fortify its cyber workforce and capabilities, it stands poised to confront these threats head-on, safeguarding national security and upholding the resilience of the nation’s digital infrastructure.


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