Feb 22 2023
Digital Workspace

RCMS23: DISA’s Workforce 2025 Plan Will Overhaul Personnel Approach

The initiative will align with the DOD’s forthcoming Cyber Workforce Strategy and prioritize certifications and skills for professional development.

The Defense Information Systems Agency’s Workforce 2025 plan aims to assign personnel with the requisite education and training to the right positions, said the agency’s director.

Speaking Tuesday at the AFCEA Rocky Mountain Cyberspace Symposium, Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner said DISA will dedicate resources to recruiting talent at the high school and college levels, in part through internships, then developing employees professionally.

The Department of Defense is close to signing off on its cyber workforce strategy, Skinner said, and Workforce 2025 will align with the policy to develop leaders, adjust to cutting-edge technologies and embrace hybrid work.

“We’re going to make sure that, where we can, we’re going to identify the strengths of the individual, the expertise of the individual, and where those best align to the missions within the organization,” Skinner said. “It truly is a deliberate and intended marriage between that position and that person.”

No longer will some personnel burn out serving three years in an operations center, he said; instead, DOD will prioritize talent leadership and mentorship and steer employees toward relevant certifications and courses.

Click the banner below to follow our coverage of RMCS 2023 on Twitter.

17-Ds Will Be Prepared for Their Assignments

Brig. Gen. Heather Blackwell, director of cyberspace and information dominance and CIO of the Air Force's Air Combat Command, said she wants to understand all the positions available to 17-Delta personnel, those responsible for communications and cybersecurity operations. Those positions will be coded against the DOD Cyber Workforce Framework so the Air Force can flag missing skills and send recruits to Digital University for the proper certifications before they start work.

Recruits will also be made aware of emerging capabilities they’re expected to learn like zero-trust security architectures, Blackwell said.

“It’s an entire training pipeline,” she added, one that should help with ongoing retention problems.

MORE FROM FEDTECH: How the DOD uses collaboration to spur tech innovation.

Posture, Positioning and Partners Are Key

While operational technology skills are important, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are in even higher demand, Skinner said.

With China “significantly trying to change the world-based order,” DOD is trying to understand its posture, including its technical debt, and needs personnel ready to operate, maintain and sustain emerging technologies, he added.

To that end, DISA recently launched operational review board with a focus on determining whether personnel are prepared for new capabilities.

Another DISA priority is positioning to counteract foreign adversaries, which means being able to quickly transition in the event of a crisis or conflict. Industry partners are critical to that effort, especially their learnings from their global operations, Skinner said.

He said DISA needs to build its capacity with industry’s help, despite enjoying good funding the last few years.

“I’m not sure that’s going to last,” Skinner said.

Join FedTech as we provide written coverage of RMCS 2023. Bookmark this page and follow us on Twitter @FedTechMagazine.

anyaberkut/Getty Images

Become an Insider

Unlock white papers, personalized recommendations and other premium content for an in-depth look at evolving IT