Congress Passes Cybersecurity Workforce Legislation

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164310488The Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014 was passed by the Senate on September 18th, by the House on December 10th, and signed by the President on December 18th. It contains provisions from the Cybersecurity Workforce Recruitment and Retention Act of 2014, which allows the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish cybersecurity positions within DHS to better meet its cybersecurity mission. Another piece of legislation, the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act (CWAA), was passed by the Senate on December 10th, by the House on December 11th, and was also signed by the President on December 18th. It requires DHS to evaluate and enhance its cybersecurity workforce. It requires the Secretary of DHS, within 180 days of the enactment of the CWAA and then annually for the next three years, to assess the cybersecurity workforce of DHS. Among other things, the assessment is to include an evaluation of the readiness and capacity of the DHS workforce to meet its cybersecurity mission.

Comprehensive workforce strategy: The CWAA requires the Secretary of DHS, within one year of its enactment, to develop a comprehensive workforce strategy to enhance the readiness, capacity, training, recruitment, and retention of the DHS cybersecurity workforce. The comprehensive workforce strategy is to include a multi-phased recruitment plan; a 5-year implementation plan; a 10-year projection of the cybersecurity workforce needs of DHS; identification of obstacles impeding the hiring and development of a DHS cybersecurity workforce; and identification of any gap in the existing DHS cybersecurity workforce and a plan to fill any gaps.

Cybersecurity Fellowship Program: The CWAA also requires the Secretary of DHS, within 120 days of the enactment of the CWAA, to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the feasibility, cost, and benefits of establishing a Cybersecurity Fellowship Program to offer a tuition payment plan for individuals pursuing undergraduate and doctoral degrees who agree to work for DHS for an agreed-upon period of time.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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