The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued new implementation guidance to agencies for the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program that was signed into law last June.

The bill enables Federal employees to rotate among different government agencies – allowing six-month to one-year interagency details of cyber employees to rotations where they can improve and develop knowledge and skills to not only support their own professional growth but also bring new skills back to their home agency.

The new program comes as agencies across the Federal government face growing cyber threats but struggle to hire and retain qualified cybersecurity employees.

According to data from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in 2022 there were over 714,000 open cybersecurity job roles in the United States – about 39,000 of those roles were in the public sector.

“The program will help federal agencies continue to enhance their cyber workforce by developing critical cyber skills and creating environments where employees have ongoing learning and development opportunities,” OPM Director Kiran Ahuja wrote in the March 17 memo. “Cyber rotations help advance career opportunities and support employee engagement, satisfaction and retention.”

Ahuja emphasized in her memo to agency chief human capital officers that the rotational opportunity aligns with the White House National Cybersecurity Strategy – to strengthen the Federal cyber workforce by developing and retaining talent.

OPM’s 48-page document lays out the basics of employee and agency participation in the program.

According to the guidance, Feds have to be working in jobs coded as IT, cybersecurity, or other cyber-related functions to participate in details to other agencies that last at least six months, with the option of extending up to a year.

To participate, interested Federal employees will need a sign-off from their own agency before they apply to other agencies. Once they are cleared for the program, they will be able to apply for details in other agencies at the same, lower, or higher grade levels through the cyber professionals page of the USAJobs Open Opportunities website.

After the six-month to one-year assignment, employees will return to their original position at their home agency.

On November 1 of this year, rotation opportunities will be officially announced and interested individuals will be able to look for advertisements for open cyber spots at other agencies.

The Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program will run through June 2027, the date the original authority expires, unless the program is extended.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.