DHS Set to Hire Up to 1,000 IT Security Pros

Is Department Taking Lead in Fed Cybersecurity Policymaking?
DHS Set to Hire Up to 1,000 IT Security Pros
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Thursday that the department has new authority to hire up to 1,000 cybersecurity professionals over the next three years.

Napolitano, in her announcement made at the kick off of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, said the additional IT security personnel will help fulfill DHS's broad mission to protection the nation's cyber infrastructure, systems and networks. "This new hiring authority will enable DHS to recruit the best cyber analysts, developers and engineers in the world to serve their country by leading the nation's defenses against cyber threats," she said.

DHS's authority to recruit up to 1,000 new IT security personnel adds fodder to the contention that the department's influence in shaping federal cybersecurity policy is growing at a time when the White House has shown little public action on securing government and key civilian IT systems. It's been more than four months since Obama announced his cybersecurity policy, and promised to name a White House cybersecurity coordinator, a job that remains vacant.

The new hiring authority resulted from a collaborative effort between DHS, the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget, and allows the department to staff up to 1,000 positions over three years across all DHS components to fulfill critical cybersecurity roles, including cyber risk and strategic analysis, cyber incident response, vulnerability detection and assessment, intelligence and investigation and network and systems engineering, DHS said.

DHS said it doesn't anticipate the need to fill all 1,000 positions; this cap reflects the Obama administration's commitment to equipping DHS with the critical tools necessary to build a world-class cyber organization and compete for cybersecurity talent.

In her remarks on National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Napolitano emphasized the important roles shared by individuals and the private sector - in partnership with the federal government - to protect the nation's cyber networks from terrorism and intrusion.

According to DHS, the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month highlights steps taken by the government to secure the nation's cyber infrastructure through programs such as the DHS National Cybersecurity Division and the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, commonly known as U.S.-CERT. Throughout October, DHS and its public and private sector partners will promote efforts to educate citizens on guarding against cyber threats at home, work and school.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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