Homeland Security Ramps Up Recruitment to Combat Cyberattacks

Homeland Security Ramps Up Recruitment to Combat Cyberattacks Homeland Security Ramps Up Recruitment to Combat Cyberattacks Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty)

By Theodore Bunker | Monday, 15 November 2021 01:46 PM

The Department of Homeland Security has launched a new federal recruitment tool to speed the hiring process to cyber professionals who could help protect against cyberattacks in the future, CBS News reports.

The Cyber Talent Management System goes into effect on Monday, and is intended to help fill vacancies at the agency, as well as counter ransomware attacks in both the public and private sectors. It allows the department to screen applicants based on their demonstrated capabilities, as well as offer competitive salaries and reduce the time taken to hire, according to FedScoop.

"The DHS Cybersecurity Talent Management System fundamentally reimagines how the department hires, develops, and retains top-tier and diverse cybersecurity talent," Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. "As our nation continues to face an evolving threat landscape, we cannot rely only on traditional hiring tools to fill mission-critical vacancies."

"We built these to test real skills that we actually need at DHS," an unnamed senior homeland security official told CBS before going on to describe the new models that were designed for testing potential recruits on a variety of subjects and disciplines. "These [assessments] test actual skills versus how well applicants can put together a résumé."

The system will also be used to fill vacancies at the DHS’ Office of the Chief Information Officer and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. CBS notes that there are currently around 500,000 cybersecurity job vacancies across the country, as recorded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s tech job-tracker Cyber Seek, with about 1,500 of those posts being within the federal government according to an estimate by senior homeland security officials.

CISA Director Jen Easterly told CBS Mornings in October that she makes almost daily appeals for applicants on Twitter and other social media providers, and noted that although women make up of almost half of the federal workforce, only about 1-in-4 cyberworkers in the government are women.

"This is one of the reasons that I'm spending so much time as our chief recruiter and chief culture officer," she said. "I want to have the type of culture that will be able to reflect what it means to be inclusive, what it means to be innovative — with collaboration, trust, transparency, ownership and empowerment. And really, if young girls and women see me, then they can see themselves in the cyberspace."