What Government Must Offer to be Competitive for Cyber Talent

When it comes to hiring the federal cyber workforce, it is easy to cling to a narrative that much of the work is beyond the control of the government. Focusing on the difficulty of the task obscures the tangible steps already taken to equip the federal workforce for the cybersecurity challenges of today and tomorrow. At the 2019 CyberCon conference, speakers from government, industry and the think tank world spoke to how, exactly, federal agencies can hire people to provide stability in an era of ever-present threats.

“The private sector wants to keep the lights on just as much as the public sector does,” said Sean Plankey, principal deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response.

To that end, Plankey pointed to trainings sponsored and coordinated by the Department of Energy that bring together industry and government to model crisis simulations. Some of these are modeled on the “Black Energy” attack by Russia on Ukraine’s power grid, and show the importance of integrating federal emergency response with private-sector handling of critical infrastructure.

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