Lawmakers introduce bill to create federal rotational program for cyber experts

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Lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill that would create a rotational program within the federal government for cyber experts from the private sector.

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., on Friday introduced the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act in the House of Representatives. It is the same version of a bill that was last month introduced in the Senate by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The proposed legislation aims to solve the difficulty faced by the federal government in obtaining the top cyber and tech talent needed to counter sophisticated threats from foreign actors. Federal government agencies have in recent years faced challenges recruiting top cyber and technology talent, in large part because of the pay differential between the private and public sectors.

If passed, the legislation would create a dynamic, prestigious program that allows senior tch industry staff to work for the U.S. government for a defined time period.

Participants would be able to return to their original position, or similar, in the private sector once their time in the program has ended, according to the bill. It encourages agencies to identify positions for rotation that have a focus on multi-agency, integrated cyber missions.

The legislation would mandate that the Office of Personnel Management lead the program in consultation with the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, the Chief Information Officers Council, and the Department of Homeland Security.

It also requires the Government Accountability Office to study the program’s effectiveness during a pilot.

After consideration by lawmakers, the bill will next move to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform for scrutiny.

Commenting on the legislation, Rep. Khanna said: “Silicon Valley has and will continue to lead the world in creativity & scientific discovery, but we can’t rely on private investment alone to protect our cyber-infrastructure from bad actors.”

“The federal government, America’s largest employer, must lead. This dynamic rotational program will give our cyber professionals the wide-ranging experience they need to defend us from growing threats abroad,” he added.

Rep. Nancy Mace said: “This program will equip not only our current generation of cybersecurity professionals but our next, ensuring America’s grid is prepared for attack. To strengthen our cybersecurity workforce is to strengthen our national defense.”

Speaking to FedScoop earlier this month, a senior procurement official said that in some cases staff working in the private sector can receive up to ten times the salary compared with a similar public sector position.

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Chief Human Capital Officers Council, Chief Information Officers Council, cyber, Government Accountability Office (GAO), Silicon Valley, workforce
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