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Leadership in Cyber Talent Management & Capability Acquisition Propels DOD’s John Sherman to 3rd Wash100 Win

Leadership in Cyber Talent Management & Capability Acquisition Propels DOD's John Sherman to 3rd Wash100 Win
John Sherman, CIO, Department of Defense

Executive Mosaic is pleased to announce that Department of Defense Chief Information Officer John Sherman has been inducted into the 2024 class of the Wash100 Award, an annual recognition of the 100 most influential and impactful leaders within the government contracting space.

Vote for John Sherman as one of your favorite GovCon industry leaders for 2024! The Popular Vote Competition of the Wash100 Award runs through April 30, 2024.

Sherman’s win this year is his third straight and third overall. Regarding the accolade, the DOD CIO said, “I’m tremendously honored to receive a 2024 Wash100 Award. There are a lot of exceptional leaders and innovative thinkers on that list and I’m humbled to be included in their ranks.”

For his part, Jim Garrettson, CEO of Executive Mosaic, said, “John leads by example and is among the most visible government executives on social media continuing to message consistently to the tens of thousands that look for clear leadership. John has championed a collaborative approach to contractor integration, advocating for tighter partnerships through his pragmatic and results-oriented leadership. He fosters a spirit of cooperation and demonstrates a willingness to work closely with contractors to optimize solution development. John’s technological expertise and leadership continues to keep our nation on a trajectory toward tech superiority and advanced warfighter capabilities. His reliability and vision make him an obvious addition to our 2024 Wash100 list.”

In this latest win, Sherman is being honored for having worked to ensure that the DOD and the broader U.S. defense establishment possess the cyber talent and digital capabilities needed to preserve national security against threats posed by adversaries.

And amid the proliferation of digital communication technologies, these threats are increasingly manifest in the cyber domain. To ensure that defense personnel working on cyber-related tasks possess the appropriate qualities to carry out their responsibilities, in February 2023, Sherman approved the release of DOD Manual 8140.03, also known as the Cyberspace Workforce Qualification and Management Program.

The third entry in the 8140 series of issuances defines the minimum requirements service members, DOD civilian employees and even contractors must meet for their respective cyberspace work roles. The same document also mandates — among other things — compliance with those requirements.

Sherman also signed the 2023-2027 DOD Cyber Workforce Strategy Implementation Plan. Released in August, the plan put into action the 2023-2027 Cyber Workforce Strategy, which seeks to enable the DOD to attract, retain and develop top-notch cyber talent.

According to the DOD CIO, the implementation plan proposes measures meant to “cultivate a workforce that is flexible and responsive in an ever-changing cyber domain.” These measures include capability and workforce requirement reviews, talent acquisition efforts, talent assessment and development programs and partnerships with the private sector, academia, other agencies and allied nations.

Ensuring the security of national systems and the sensitive data contained therein requires not only the hiring and retention of appropriate talent but also the enforcement of prevailing security policies.

In April, the DOD CIO issued a memorandum reminding the leaders of the U.S. military services and their components of the need to certify that their systems comply with multiple cybersecurity measures to prevent sensitive information from being compromised. These security measures included the implementation of least privilege and access control; the activation and optimization of system audit capabilities; and the deployment and optimization of user activity monitoring capabilities.

But cybersecurity is as much a function of compliance with controls as it is a function of obsolescence: older systems simply possess more vulnerabilities. Acquiring new capabilities, especially software and digital ones, is key to addressing this issue and ensuring that the nation’s defenders are able to adapt to a rapidly changing threat landscape.

In March, Sherman approved the DOD Software Modernization Implementation Plan, which aims to ensure the delivery of “resilient software capability at the speed of relevance.” To achieve this, the document describes the establishment of the Software Modernization Senior Steering Group, which will work to oversee continuous software modernization planning and management. The same document outlines priority tasks for fiscal years 2023 through 2024, which include the establishment of a DOD-wide software factory ecosystem, enhancing software capability access and interoperability and digital workforce expansion.

Sherman then approved in June DOD Instruction 5000.82, which outlines the requirements for acquiring digital capabilities, including those pertaining to software, information technology, communications and data. The document establishes policy and procedures and assigns the responsibilities of principal acquisition officials.

Prominent in both policies is the interest of the DOD in acquiring and adopting enterprise cloud solutions, an interest that is most visibly expressed in the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability contract. Following the awarding of the JWCC in late 2022, Sherman in August last year issued a memorandum that sought to rationalize cloud use across the DOD. The memo’s recommendations include transitioning Office of the Secretary of Defense components and defense agencies and field activities from existing cloud contracts to the JWCC once the existing deals expire.

Despite the recency of the JWCC awards, Sherman told attendees at a conference in December that JWCC 2.0 would soon be under consideration, according to Federal News Network.

“In calendar year 2024, we’re going to start looking at the follow-on contract for JWCC,” the DOD CIO said.

Another “2.0” effort that Sherman and his office are working on is the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program. Sherman said in May at the Potomac Officers Club’s 4th Annual CIO Summit that he and his organization had not yet gotten CMMC 2.0 “out of the building” because of a desire “to get it right.” But in December, a proposed rule meant to implement CMMC was finally released for public comment, with interested parties having had until Feb. 26 this year to provide input.

Looking ahead, the three-time Wash100 awardee says, “2024 is going to be a busy year for the Department. We are pushing hard to improve Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity, continue DoD’s digital modernization efforts, implement our Zero Trust approach by the end of FY 2027, and accelerate the deployment 5G technologies to all installations by the end of CY 2028. We are also incredibly excited by future work in dynamic spectrum sharing and JWCC 2.0 that is expected to begin in the coming year.”

Sherman and his office’s accomplishments in the past year and their vision for the coming year indicate the level of excellence at which the DOD CIO leads his office. This kind of quality is what the Wash100 award stands for and celebrates.

Executive Mosaic congratulates Sherman and his team for the latest win.

Cast a vote now to select John Sherman as one of your favorite GovCon industry leaders for 2024!

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Written by Jerry Petersen

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