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President Trump has signed an executive order (EO) that seeks to bolster the U.S. federal government’s digital security workforce.

On 2 May, President Trump authorized the “Executive Order on America’s Cybersecurity Workforce.” This directive sets out various actions designed to strengthen the federal digital security workforce. For instance, it requires the Secretary of Homeland Security in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to develop a digital security rotational program within 90 days. This platform’s purpose is to enable federal IT and digital security practitioners to receive temporary assignments in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and vice versa, thereby facilitating the exchange of knowledge, training and experiences.

In further support of strengthening the federal government’s digital security workforce, the Executive Order requires the Director of OPM in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the heads of other agencies to identify aptitude assessments for use in selecting employees who have the potential to obtain digital security skills. These agency heads will also play a role in creating an annual digital security competition known as the President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition to identify and reward the federal government’s best digital security practitioners and teams.

Kevin K. McAleenan, acting secretary of Homeland Security, feels that these and other initiatives outlined in the Executive Order will play a significant role in defending the United States against digital threats. As quoted in a DHS statement:

America’s cybersecurity practitioners… constitute a core element in our country’s frontline defense, and we must urgently bolster them in the face of a myriad of cybersecurity threats. DHS and this Administration are committed to bold action. From enabling movement between the private and public sectors to supporting our workforce’s training, education, and development, the President’s action today sets the course to expand and sustain the workforce and ensure America keeps its competitive edge in the critical field of cybersecurity.

This newest Executive Order comes nearly two years after President Trump issued a directive that requires federal agency heads to use the NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework for managing their agency’s digital security risk.

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