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CHIPS Articles: Message from the DON CIO, October-December 2010

Message from the DON CIO, October-December 2010
By Barbara Hoffman - October-December 2010
The Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer recently released the DON Cyber/IT Workforce Strategic Plan. This plan establishes the DON’s priorities for workforce excellence by identifying the goals and objectives that will allow us to recruit, manage, develop, sustain and retain a talented workforce. The value of the Cyber/IT Workforce to national security is underscored by events such as the appointment of the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator and the stand up of U.S. Cyber Command.

In light of the importance placed on the Cyber/IT Workforce, this issue of "CHIPS," is dedicated to that workforce, and you will see a common thread: To be successful we must enable our people. An important mission of the DON is to secure our networks to the best of our ability. To do this, our workforce must be given the control, guidance, processes, network visibility, tools, education, training and support they need to get the job done. Our people are doing a remarkable job today, but much more can be achieved if we listen to them, identify current and future needs, and implement the processes needed to meet the challenges we face.

Intuitively, we know that if we accurately communicate the mission to our personnel and give them what they need, we will be successful. If we take care of our people — through recruiting initiatives, retention incentives, and by rewarding performance — then they will be successful. There are a multitude of workforce initiatives underway. They include mandatory certification of the cybersecurity workforce, civilian workforce hiring reform, scholarship and internship programs, and continuous learning, to name a few. We owe it to our people to ensure these initiatives are coordinated and usable.

President Obama released Presidential Memorandum – "Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process," May 11, 2010, which is about the need to improve the federal recruitment and hiring process. The president is calling on executive departments and agencies to help with the complexity and inefficiency of today’s federal hiring process, which deters many highly qualified individuals from seeking and obtaining jobs in the federal government. DON CIO, as the IT Functional Community Manager, is partnering with the DON Office of Civilian Human Resources (OCHR) to assist in streamlining the hiring process. This includes elimination of essay style questions and instead, allowing individuals to apply with resumes and cover letters; use of category rating, which results in an increased number of qualified applicants; and notifying applicants about their status at various stages throughout the process. You may follow the Department of Defense Hiring Reform Initiative at

To help us improve our overall cybersecurity capabilities, the DON was recently given authority to hire individuals with cybersecurity skills under Cybersecurity Schedule A hiring authority (available at aspx). Additionally, the DON CIO, working with OCHR and several other DON organizations, developed the selective placement factors for IT Specialist (2210) and Computer Scientist (1550) positions. This effort is in direct support of the emergent needs of the newly created Navy and Marine Corps Cyber Forces Commands and our operational and systems commands.

The Cyber/IT Workforce — a cadre of educated, trained and motivated personnel — is entering a culture where "continuous learning" will be the norm. It is crucial that our personnel develop an Individual Development Plan that addresses individual needs and improves the capabilities of our communities. Our personnel diligently design, operate, maintain and defend the network on a 24/7 basis. Constant attention to detail on the job, supplemented by proficiency through improved skills, will make our workforce world class and second to none.

We are always looking to the future to determine how we need to adapt and improve, and the DON Cyber/IT Workforce Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2010-2013 spells this out. I urge you to download it, take a look, and move with us as we bridge to the future. It is available at

Ms. Barbara Hoffman, Department of the Navy, Chief Information Officer (Acting)
Ms. Barbara Hoffman
Department of the Navy
Chief Information Officer (Acting)
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