U.S. Congressman Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) introduced legislation recently to establish career pathways in computer science within the federal government. H.R. 3533, the Federal Career Opportunities in Computer Science Work Act would improve national security and speed technological advancement by improving the federal government’s ability to recruit and manage experts in the field, a significant problem the government has faced in developing the capacity to respond to crisis situations such as the Colonial Pipeline hack and JBS meat processing hack.
“The recent hacks of the Colonial Pipeline and JBS meat processing have highlighted the serious gaps in America’s abilities to protect from and respond to cyber-attacks, especially when they specifically threaten our national security,” said Obernolte. “As a computer scientist, I believe there is much more we can do to improve our government’s ability to preclude incidents like these. We need to ensure the federal government has the ability to hire and retain top scientists if we want to improve our national security and prevent future cyberattacks.”
Currently, the federal government does not include occupations that allow government civilians to focus on software development, data science or artificial intelligence (AI) outside of pure research and development. This lack of federal career paths has stunted the government’s ability to track and manage its digital workforce, attract new technical talent, and create new positions to meet the growing demands of the cyber age. The Federal Career Opportunities in Computer Science Work Act addresses these problems by establishing computer science-specific occupational series within the federal government employment structure.