A Cyber Counterintelligence Competence Framework


  • Thenjiwe Sithole University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Dr Jaco Du Toit




cyber counterintelligence, cyber counterintelligence job roles, competence framework, proficiency levels, cybersecurity


The increased use of cyberspace and technological advancement are fundamentally changing the cyber threat landscape. Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, frequent, and destructive. Internationally, there is a growing acceptance that Cyber Counterintelligence (CCI) is essential to counter cyber-attacks optimally. Therefore, in addition to government intelligence and security agencies, more companies are incorporating a CCI approach as a critical element of their posture for engaging cyber threats. However, the successful adoption of a CCI approach depends on the availability of skilled CCI professionals equipped with the requisite competences. The creation of such CCI professionals, in turn, requires a framework for developing the necessary CCI competences. At least in as far as reviewed academic literature is concerned, there is no existing postulation on a framework to develop the CCI competences, specifically for developing countries. Given the complexity and multi-disciplinary nature of the emerging CCI field, such a framework needs to provide two distinctive skillsets linked to CCI’s two distinct areas of expertise, namely cyber (security) and counterintelligence. The paper presents a high-level Cyber Counterintelligence Competence Framework (CCIC Framework) that outlines dimensions of CCI, functional areas, job roles and requisite competences (knowledge, skills, and abilities), and tasks for each CCI job role. The CCI framework also outlines five levels of proficiency expected for each job role. The identification of competences and levels of proficiency are integral to the successful implementation of the framework and workforce development. The CCIC Framework is intended to be used as a tool to retain, assess, and monitor knowledge, skills, and abilities for CCI workforce development. In addition, the CCIC Framework can be used to assist in providing the basis for individual performance management, education, training, and development pathway, as well as career progression. Therefore, this paper presents a CCIC Framework which is an overarching, integrative construct that synergistically combines different components required to develop a competent workforce for the emerging field of CCI.