A recent House bill, named the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Expansion Act, aims to significantly enhance the U.S. cybersecurity workforce.
According to Security Week, this legislation, co-sponsored by Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Mike Gallagher, introduces two pivotal training programs within federal agencies. The first, a cybersecurity registered apprenticeship program, will be established in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). This program seeks to develop and harness a new generation of cyber defense professionals.
The second initiative, under the Department of Veterans Affairs, targets veterans and military members transitioning to civilian life. This pilot program will provide essential cybersecurity training, equipping them with the skills necessary for defending the nation in cyberspace. This innovative approach not only strengthens the nation’s cybersecurity but also offers veterans continued opportunities to serve their country.
Both programs emphasize collaboration among various federal departments, such as the Departments of Labor and Defense, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Office of Personnel Management. These partnerships are crucial for developing a comprehensive framework for the apprenticeship program and ensuring the success of the VA pilot program.
The bill also requires regular reporting to Congress, ensuring transparency and continuous improvement of these initiatives. The CISA director is tasked with providing a biennial report on the apprenticeship program’s progress.
This legislative effort aligns with other federal strategies to reinforce the U.S. cybersecurity workforce. In March, the Department of Defense released a Cyber Workforce Strategy to address talent shortages, and in October, a bipartisan bill aimed at relaxing educational requirements for federal cyber workers was favorably received in a House vote.
Regarding the importance of this bill, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan stated, “Reports of cyber attacks continue to rise, and we must respond accordingly to protect businesses, sensitive personal data, and ultimately our national security.” She emphasized the bill’s potential to train the next generation of cyber defense professionals.
Rep. Mike Gallagher highlighted the veteran-focused aspect, saying, “By creating programs that provide veterans with the skills they need to help protect this country in the cyber domain, this bill is an innovative way to bolster our nation’s cyber defenses and strengthen the federal cyber workforce while giving veterans an opportunity to continue serving their country.”
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