Trump signs executive order aimed at improving federal cybersecurity workforce

Trump signs executive order aimed at improving federal cybersecurity workforce
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE on Thursday signed an executive order aimed at improving the cybersecurity workforce within the federal government.

Senior administration officials said during a call with reporters that the order will create a rotational program for cybersecurity staffers within the federal government to let them work at different agencies and pick up new skills.

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And they said that other measures in the order, like creating a “President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition” for cybersecurity, will ultimately improve the quality of cybersecurity staffers in both the government and in the private sector.

Studies have pointed to a significant gap within the cybersecurity workforce, with there being far fewer qualified professionals than there are jobs in the field.

Among other measures, the order establishes a rotational program for federal workers. Workers at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will be able to swap out with similar staff at other federal agencies.

That program is in line with one that would be created by a bill recently passed in the Senate.

The order also implements measures meant to assist federal agencies in retraining employees who are interested in joining the cybersecurity field.

And it requires that an existing set of guidelines for the education of cybersecurity workers be used in the training of federal cyber staffers.

Trump said in a statement that cybersecurity jobs “represent an incredible economic opportunity for America’s workers — and my Administration is working to ensure they have the skills they need to seize it.”

“These actions will enable more Americans to secure well-paying jobs that grow our Nation’s wealth and increase our security,” he said.

Administration officials on the call hedged on the question of how funding will be provided for some of the order’s programs, largely pointing to external sources of funding from private groups. And they said they would look to Congress to pass legislation to help improve pay for cybersecurity staff, which can be lucrative in the private sector.

They also said there weren’t any specific measures in the order on how to better diversify the cybersecurity workforce. But one senior official said that diversification would be a “natural byproduct” of the order’s measures.

One official said the administration hasn’t formalized the exact challenges that will be included in the presidential cybersecurity competition, but that they are currently reviewing existing similar challenges.

“I’m a shameless thief when it comes to good ideas and best practices,” one official said. “And we want to make sure that whatever we’re doing is based on a good set of practices that’s been tried and tested.”