Thursday, August 26, 2021

Review - DHS Publishes Cybersecurity Talent Management System Rule

Today the Department of Homeland Security published an interim final rule in the Federal Register (86 FR 47840-47913) establishing the Department’s “Cybersecurity Talent Management System”. The regulation is mandated by 6 USC 658(b)(6). According to the Executive Summary §658 “authorizes DHS to create a new approach to talent management exempt from major portions of existing laws governing talent management for much of the Federal civil service.”

Authority for Rule

Section 658(b)(1)(A) specifically authorizes DHS to:

• Establish, as positions in the excepted service, such qualified positions in the Department as the Secretary determines necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the Department relating to cybersecurity,

• Appoint an individual to a qualified position, and

• Fix the compensation of an individual for service in a qualified position

More importantly, §658(b)(1)(B) provides the authority for DHS to take these actions “without regard to the provisions of any other law relating to the appointment, number, classification, or compensation of employees.”

Effective Date and Comments

This rule goes into effect on November 15th, 2021. Since this is an interim final rule, DHS is soliciting comments on the rule. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # DHS-2020-0042). Comments should be submitted by December 31st, 2021.


Strictly speaking, this is a rule about government workforce management, and it has no direct impact on any person or organization outside of DHS, not even contractors. In a larger sense, however, since DHS will continue to be a major competitor for cybersecurity talent for the foreseeable future, this rule is going to have a major impact on cybersecurity talent management across the country. Companies across the globe that rely on large numbers of cybersecurity employees are going to have to be able to compete with DHS for the high-end of that talent pool. This new regulation provides DHS with some new tools to increase their level of competitiveness. Those measures that prove to be the most helpful to DHS will end up becoming new employment norms across the industry.


For more details on the philosophy behind the new rules and the scope of the rulemaking, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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