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Guidance for Identifying Top Five Cyber Talent Gaps

Monday, November 23, 2015
Guidance for Identifying Top Five Cyber Talent Gaps

The following guidance will assist agencies with identifying their top five Cyber talent gaps in support of OMB Memo M-16-04, Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan (CSIP) for the Federal Civilian Government, dated October 30, 2015 (


The CSIP Memo (page 18) directs:


Agencies will participate in OPM’s existing Special Cyber Workforce Project, which provides Cybersecurity job codes by specialty, so that agency leadership can identify the universe of their Cyber talent, understand Federal-wide challenges for retaining talent, and address gaps accordingly.  Agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs), working collaboratively with Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs), should use this assessment to identify their top five Cyber talent gaps, which will be due to OPM and OMB by December 31, 2015.


The commencement of the OPM Special Cyber Workforce Project was in 2013 ( which resulted in agencies coding their workforce to identify the positions that perform significant Cybersecurity work.  The resulting dataset, maintained within OPM’s Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) data warehouse and based on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (, shows the specialty areas in which Cybersecurity work is performed.  Specialty areas include: network services, Cyber threat analysis, systems development, etc. 


Agencies should use methods that are consistent with their workforce planning processes to calculate their top five Cyber talent gaps.  In determining the “supply,” or their current (on-board) Cyber workforce, agencies will use their coding data, along with other factors such as the current use of contractors to perform Cyber work, the adequacy of Cyber employees’ proficiencies or certifications, etc.  Agencies must pay particular attention to assess the “demand,” or their future Cyber needs and requirements, to ensure we identify the Cyber workforce needed. The difference between the supply and demand will inform agencies’ lists of their top five Cyber talent gaps.


Agencies must define and report their top five Cyber talent gaps in terms of the cyber code specialty areas (e.g., network services – code 44, Cyber threat analysis – code 14, systems development – code 63, etc.).  This reporting format will allow OPM to compile the Cyber talent gaps in a standardized way across agencies.  Additionally, agencies should provide supplemental information (in narrative format) to provide clarifications for their data (e.g. hard-to-fill Cyber vacancies, Cyber work performed by and the number of contracting staff used to augment their Full-time Equivalent (FTE) staff,  specialty areas they anticipate that their “demand” staff will need to perform, etc.).


A resource chart (template) has been developed to be loaded on OMB’s MAX site ( to enable agencies to report their Cyber talent gaps by Cyber code specialty area.  Each agency Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) and their Cyber data element point of contact will have access to the OMB MAX page to access their resource chart and will upload their completed chart to the same page. OPM has been working with CHCO agencies’ Human Resources and CIO representatives on the Special Cyber Workforce Project.  OPM will send the representatives their recent coding data.  The agency representatives are listed within the OMB MAX site link above. We strongly encourage Human Resources and CIO staff to partner on this effort.


Note that the pre-populated charts will have current on board numbers for each specialty area for each agency.   Agencies will enter data for all of the specialty areas in columns B-G of the chart areas for their analysis.  Column A will have the pre-populated onboard numbers.  Columns B-G will require inputs for targets and attrition for each specialty area (attrition needs to be entered as a negative value).  Based on the input into columns B-G, columns H, I and J will automatically calculate projected gaps based on the data entered.  The five specialty areas with the largest gaps will constitute an agencies top five Cyber talent gaps.  Agencies will enter estimated cyber contracting needs in columns K, L and M.


Agencies will upload their resource chart with entries for all specialty areas, as well as any narrative supplemental information, to OMB’s MAX page ( no later than Thursday, December 17, 2015.


As we work towards recruiting and retaining a top quality Cyber workforce across Government, we will involve experts from each agency’s CHCO Office and CIO Office to work on the Cyber HR Strategy.  Please send these points of contact names and email addresses to Shanaz Porter at: by December 2, 2015.


Please direct questions to Shanaz Porter, who can be reached at or (202) 606-1005.