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DARPA’s Acting Head: High Cyber Workforce Turnover Rate a Positive

Site: DARPA.mil

The Air Force promised it would create a career progression path for its cyber experts to keep them from leaving for the private sector.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s acting chief has suggested that keeping cyber professionals for an extended period of time may not benefit either the agency or the professional, NextGov reports.

Ken Gabriel, DARPA’s acting director, told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee Tuesday that the Pentagon should create a building model under which it can refresh its cyber workforce every few years, according to the report.

Contrary to other agencies’ hiring practices, Gabriel said the Pentagon’s research arm does not have professionals who hold a Ph.D. or a master’s degree.

Many of DARPA’s cybersecurity program managers do not have a doctorate, he said.

Gabriel said many cyber professionals stay for three to five years.

After they move on, a fresh set of professionals will be able to join the agency and offer new perspective, he said.

This trend and time span is not absent from the agency’s program managers, officer directors or department directors, Gabriel said.

Regina Dugan served as DARPA’s director for nearly three years and joined Google earlier this month.

Michael Wertheimer, the National Security Agency’s research and development director, told the panel his biggest issue in retaining workers is lack of opportunities to advance and for increased pay.

He said most of those who left indicated their reasons for leaving was the lack of opportunity for advancement, according to the report.

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