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GAO: Cybersecurity Workforce - Agencies Need to Categorize Positions to Identify Staffing Needs

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

This publication and the abstract below was published by GAO in March 2019. ICIT strongly encourages you to visit the GAO Reports and Testimonies Library to search for additional information security resources which are freely available.

Why GAO Did This Study

A key component of mitigating and responding to cyber threats is having a qualified, well-trained cybersecurity workforce. The act requires OPM and federal agencies to take several actions related to cybersecurity workforce planning. These actions include categorizing all IT, cybersecurity, and cyber-related positions using OPM personnel codes for specific work roles, and identifying critical staffing needs. The act contains a provision for GAO to analyze and monitor agencies’ workforce planning. GAO’s objectives were to (1) determine the extent to which federal agencies have assigned work roles for positions performing IT, cybersecurity, or cyber-related functions and (2) describe the steps federal agencies took to identify work roles of critical need. GAO administered a questionnaire to 24 agencies, analyzed coding data from personnel systems, and examined preliminary reports on critical needs. GAO selected six of the 24 agencies based on cybersecurity spending levels to determine the accuracy of codes assigned to a random sample of IT positions. GAO also interviewed relevant OPM and agency officials.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is making 28 recommendations to 22 agencies to review and assign the appropriate codes to their IT, cybersecurity, and cyber-related positions. Of the 22 agencies to which GAO made recommendations, 20 agreed with the recommendations, one partially agreed, and one did not agree with one of two recommendations. GAO continues to believe that all of the recommendations are warranted.


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