Homeland Security updates cyber workforce system
- By Natalie Alms
- Nov 18, 2021
The Department of Homeland Security’s newly launched hiring portal will help DHS better define work, build a diverse pipeline of talent and better screen applicants.
Cybersecurity Talent Management System streamlines the application process and features competency-based assessments, including real-world scenarios that test for specific skills, officials said. The new system will also allow the agency to better align pay with the value of skills in the market.
Currently, the agency faces around 1,500 vacancies, officials said. That's within a notoriously tight labor market for cybersecurity professionals. DHS expects that about 1,000 of those job vacancies would fit into the CTMS scheme. The first hires will be into the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the DHS Office of the CIO as part of the new DHS Cybersecurity Service. Beginning in 2022, DHS Cybersecurity Service jobs will be available across several DHS agencies with a cybersecurity mission.
DHS wants to onboard the first 150 feds under the new system in 2022 and it expects it to "grow at an aggressive pace" in coming years, senior DHS officials told reporters during a briefing on Nov. 12.
The first hires will range from entry- to expert-level professionals in a range of specializations, DHS officials said, pointing to digital forensics and cybersecurity threat analysis as examples of the skills the agency will be hiring for.
In addition, policy changes billed as a wholesale rewiring of hiring and compensating cyber professionals at the agency go into effect today.
CTMS was first authorized in 2014 legislation, but has seen delay after delay before rules were laid down to implement it in September.
The agency has characterized the effort as a civil service pilot with rules that will allow the agency to onboard cyber professionals more quickly and ease their ability to move within government and the private sector.
"Current federal hiring practices were designed for predictable work. It was to emphasize predefined positions and longevity in government service, and there was a lack of agility," said a senior DHS official. "We embarked on designing CTMS to enhance the department's capacity to recruit and retain our cybersecurity talent by modernizing the practices around hiring, compensating and developing our employees."
This article was first posted to FCW.
Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.