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New Executive Order Aims to Grow Federal Cybersecurity Staff

The EO outlines a 'rotational assignment program' intended to help security practitioners develop their skills.

President Donald Trump this week signed a new executive order (EO) designed to recruit and educate more cybersecurity professionals across both government agencies and the private sector.

The EO outlines myriad initiatives supporting its plan to create a larger pool of talent moving between businesses and the federal government. Some of these are training opportunities including work-based learning, apprenticeships, and "blended learning" programs for new entrants to the security field, as well as seasoned practitioners who want to develop their skill sets.

One of these is a "cybersecurity rotational assignment program," an effort to be led by the Department of Homeland Security, along with directors of the Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget. The initiative will bring DHS employees to other agencies, and vice versa, to help build risk management expertise and other skills needed to work in cybersecurity.

The program will use the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) framework as the basis for participant requirements; it also mandates that NICE terminology and taxonomy are used in workforce knowledge and skill requirements for IT and cybersecurity services.

As the EO points out, the rotational program is nonreimbursable, but it does mention agencies will create "new awards and decorations" to recognize security performance and achievements. It also describes an annual cybersecurity competition dubbed the "President's Cup," which will let federal civilian and military employees compete in offensive and defensive security skills.

Read the full executive order here.

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