WEST 2023 — The Defense Department’s new cyber workforce strategy creates dozens of updated work roles, including new artificial intelligence and data-focused specializations, as part of a broader effort to recruit and retain “the most capable and dominant” workforce in the world by utilizing “four human capital pillars.”
The DoD chief information office has not yet released the 2023-2027 DoD Cyber Workforce Strategy on its website and a spokesperson for the office did not respond to an inquiry about its release, but slides posted on the AFCEA WEST 2023 conference agenda website outline what’s inside the strategy. Mark Gorak, Principal Director for Resources & Analysis in the CIO’s team, and Patrick Johnson, Director of the CIO’s Workforce Innovation Directorate, are slated to present the slides at the AFCEA WEST conference on Wednesday.
The strategy is built around four broad goals: performing capability assessments and analysis processes to stay ahead of force needs; establishing an enterprise-wide talent management program; facilitating a cultural shift within the department; and developing partnerships “to enhance capability development, operational effectiveness and career broadening experiences.”
“This strategy utilizes four human capital pillars – Identification, Recruitment, Development and Retention – to identify and group cyber workforce challenges,” according to slides. “The four pillars also serve as a catalyst for targeted workforce development goals, which aid the Department in achieving the mission and vision of this strategy.”
According to the slides, an accompanying updated DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF) will define “enterprise baseline standards using Work Roles, which offer greater fidelity than historical occupational structures (e.g. civilian occupational series, military occupational specialties).”
The DCWF includes 39 updated work roles to include cloud and DevSecOps, a new control systems “unique work role” and 71 work roles that include artificial intelligence, data and software engineering roles, the slides say.
In June last year, DoD Chief Information Officer John Sherman said he was working alongside Craig Martell, DoD’s Chief Digital and AI Officer, to develop the strategy. In January, Sherman told Breaking Defense that the cyber workforce strategy wouldn’t be a long document, with an implementation plan that follows the strategy holding most of the detail.
“So I’m excited about this,” he said then. “It will be high-level to kind of put the marker down on this, and then an implementation plan that will follow some months later that will really get into the granular details of it.”
Along with the cyber workforce strategy, DoD apparently published another critical initiative: DoD Manual 8140.03, which, according to the agenda, “changes the way that we qualify our workforce.”
“The DoD 8140 Qualification Program establishes a comprehensive approach for cyber workforce talent management,” according to slides. “It establishes Enterprise baseline standards for qualification that directly support operational needs and workforce readiness.”
The program sets cyber workforce standards, according to slides, and includes four tenets: qualifications based on the DCWF work roles; knowledge verification; capability verification; and continuous professional development with a minimum of 20 hours of professional development each year for personnel.