The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) unveiled a new initiative on June 1 that aims to shift the agency’s training, recruiting, and retention efforts to meet challenges posed by foreign adversaries, particularly China.


The Workforce 2025 initiative provides a framework to rapidly adapt to inevitable technological advances and the evolving global security landscape to ensure the agency delivers relevant, cutting-edge capabilities that are resilient and agile, enabling warfighters to maintain an operational and competitive edge.


“Of all the cyber threats the United States and its allies face, those emanating from China are at the top of the list,” DISA Director Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner said in a press release. “If we focus solely on the technology required to do this and forget about the people who operate it, we will become stagnant and outpaced.”


The initiative is divided into four lines of effort aimed at supporting the 2022 National Defense Strategy workforce requirements. Those are to attract, train, and promote a workforce that is equipped with the knowledge and decision-making abilities to creatively solve national security challenges in a complex global environment.


Under the first line of effort – incorporating new training tools, activities, and programs for its workforce – employees will get access to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) chief information officer’s library and engage in “tabletop exercises based on real-world events.”


The second line of effort focuses on expanding employees’ knowledge and skills by hosting informal rotations into functional areas so they can learn new and specific skills. It also pushes for the development of a “structured agency placement process to quickly leverage skills gained by employee participation in advanced leadership development programs.”


In the third line of effort, DISA aims to improve the hybrid work environment for employees by modernizing its offices and creating a free on-premises lab environment to experiment and learn.


Under the final line of effort, DISA will try to “elevate” its brand to recruit more talent and leverage external partnerships.


“Workforce 2025 is, at its heart, a strategy designed to enhance the skills and talents of current employees while ensuring DISA onboards new talent and invests in the professional development of both throughout their careers,” Skinner said. “The goal of the strategy is to lay a foundation for employee success that sets the standard for excellence for years to come.”


The plan comes after DoD announced it’s also working on an implementation plan for the agency’s cyber workforce strategy which aims to solve the department’s workforce retention challenge.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.