The federal government and private sector are facing increasing pressure to fill key cyber roles as high-profile attacks and international threats rattle various U.S. sectors.
Workforce shortages have been a long-running issue in cyber, but they have taken on renewed importance amid rising Russian threats stemming from the war in Ukraine.
“It’s an issue that the government faces as well as the private sector, state and local communities,” Iranga Kahangama, a cyber official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said at a House hearing this week.
Kahangama said the shortage has been a top priority for his agency, which conducted a 60-day hiring sprint last summer to hire cybersecurity professionals. Out of 500 job offers DHS sent out, the department was able to hire nearly 300 new cyber workers.
“It was the largest single hiring event we’ve had so far,” Kahangama told lawmakers on a House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence and counterterrorism.
The focus on labor shortages comes as the U.S. has been on high alert recently, with intelligence officials warning about possible Russian cyberattacks targeting key government institutions, elections and critical infrastructure, including the energy and finance sectors.
Executives in the private sector are also feeling the pressure to hire highly skilled workers to combat increasing threats from ransomware and other online attacks.