During its first few weeks, the Trump administration issued several executive orders that left heads spinning, with many federal personnel unclear of the implications. One particular order that is causing significant anxiety among federal cybersecurity personnel – including thousands of (ISC)² members -- is the hiring freeze. How is the freeze impacting our U.S. government member community and the government’s overall cyber progress?
After numerous conversations with federal cybersecurity leaders, one thing is clear - there is an abundance of unknowns and a unanimous sentiment of unpredictability. Yet, when outcomes are hard to predict, sometimes it helps to know that you are not alone. We can confirm that the current tone among federal cyber leaders is that of uncertainty, bordering on anxiety. So far, the unintended consequences of the freeze include a pause on recruitment efforts, withdrawal of current applicants, the exodus of younger entrants who see greater promise in private industry and an increase in early retirement for those with seniority. For those in the federal government who struggle daily in a short-staffed environment, morale is certainly taking a hit.
For our U.S. government members trying to navigate the implications of the hiring freeze, and other cyber-related orders on the immediate horizon, I want to encourage you to think short-term and be cautious to draw conclusions within the first 90 days of the new administration. One thing that I can say with certainty is that the (ISC)² organization is doing our part to drive awareness of the issues, and we stand dedicated to continuing such efforts. As for (ISC)²’s immediate goals, we will be focused on the following:
- Helping our members navigate the uncertainties. We will be regularly polling cyber experts and posting the community’s reactions to any new happenings in an effort to shed light on potential impact to our members. To this end, we are encouraging you to provide comments and/or questions in the comment section below, so that we can be a resource of information to assist in whatever challenges arise.
- Continuing our efforts to advocate for the workforce. We will be presenting a set of recommendations to the transition team in the coming weeks with the intention of helping to move forward federal cyber workforce initiatives. In prior years, the government heeded our call to hire a Federal CISO, and we will continue pushing for the same from this administration. We will make it known that it is a top priority to fill the void of practical leadership for those of you on the front lines.
Finally, I want to encourage conversation. As the world’s largest body of cybersecurity professionals, we have an opportunity to drive progress over the next four years. With the greatest minds in cyber, together we can help solve the complex and continuing challenges of securing our nation and the world around us. Now, more than ever, our collective voice needs to be heard.
Dan Waddell, CISSP, CAP, PMP
Regional Managing Director, North America Region, (ISC)²