The Navy had 800 cybersecurity staffers in 2013 and will reach nearly 1,000 by 2017, working toward a mix of 80 percent uniformed personnel and 20 percent civilian employees and contractors. The Marines currently have 300 uniformed personnel, civilians and contractors at work, and plan to increase that number to just under 1,000 by 2017.
The Department of Homeland Security’s challenges in recruiting and retaining cybersecurity personnel are not breaking news. Even with multiple agency efforts to improve recruitment and retention, the Government Accountability Office reported this year that over 20 percent of the cybersecurity positions are vacant at the National Protection and Programs Directorate, the primary DHS cyber-division.
Agencies beyond DHS have also continued to supplement their internal workforces with contracted personnel.
Office of Management and Budget reports show that up to 90 percent of federal IT security spending is on personnel costs, so beefing up the cyber ranks will add costs.
However, given the demand for an improved national cybersecurity posture, cyber spending will likely continue to buck the belt-tightening trend.
John Slye is an advisory research analyst in federal industry analysis at Herndon-based Deltek, which conducts research on the government contracting market and can be found at www.deltek.com.