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U.S. Senators Announce Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Bills

U.S. senators recently introduced and reintroduced bills whose goal is to help the government address the shortage of cybersecurity experts.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) on Monday introduced the bipartisan Cyber Security Exchange Act, which establishes a public-private exchange program.

Experts from the private sector and academia would be recruited for limited “tours of duty” in the government for up to two years. In addition, experts working for the government would do tours of duty in the private sector to learn best practices that can be applied to secure government systems.

“This bipartisan legislation will allow our federal agencies to work with private sector experts at the top of the cybersecurity field to help ensure that our networks are protected,” said Klobuchar.

Thune noted, “This is a great opportunity for federal government agencies to tap into the vast cybersecurity resources that exist in the private sector and academia, as well as bolster the capabilities of their counterparts.”

Last week, Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) reintroduced a bipartisan bill to develop and retain skilled cybersecurity professionals in the federal workforce.

The Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act was initially introduced in September 2018 by Sen. Peters and co-sponsored by Hoeven and Hassan.

The bill focuses on the creation of a program that would enable civilian cyber employees in one agency to work in a rotational, temporary capacity in other agencies in an effort to develop multi-agency and policy expertise.

“Our legislation is all about ensuring the federal workforce is adequately prepared to prevent and respond to growing cybersecurity threats,” said Sen. Hoeven. “This issue touches every corner of the government’s operations. By creating opportunities for our nation’s cybersecurity professionals to further develop their knowledge and skills, our bill will empower the federal government to attract and retain a talented workforce, while also enhancing our national security.”

Last year, Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev) introduced the Cyber Ready Workforce Act, which would establish a grant program within the Department of Labor to “support the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity.” The bill had 13 co-sponsors, but it didn’t make it very far.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.