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The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Handbook

The CISO Handbook was created to educate and inform new and existing CISOs about their role in Federal cybersecurity. It provides resources to help CISOs responsibly apply risk management principles to help Federal agencies meet mission objectives, and makes CISOs aware of laws, policies, tools, and initiatives that can assist them as they develop or improve cybersecurity programs for their organizations.

The Handbook is a key document, coordinated through the CIO and CISO Councils, to improve the vital federal cybersecurity reskilling and workforce development efforts outlined in the President’s Management Agenda. Below are five takeaways from the handbook:

  • Overview of the CISO role (page 7) and key government-wide organizations (page 11).

  • CISO Reference Sections with high-level information about important cybersecurity documents:
    • Federal risk management publications (page 31)
    • Government-wide policy documents (page 50)
  • Information on the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (also known as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework or the CSF) and how it can be leveraged in conjunction with other NIST risk management publications.

  • Resources and links for workforce, contracting, and other government-wide services with which CISOs should be familiar.

  • Extensive, searchable appendices that consolidate key statutory language, policy templates, government-wide services, and other previously disparate resources.


  FY Q1 FY Q2 FY Q3 FY Q4
Estimated Deadline January April July October
Reporting Q1 CIO FISMA Reporting

Annual HVA Reporting
Q2 CIO FISMA Report Q3 CIO FISMA Reporting Annual CIO FISMA Reporting

Annual IG FISMA Reporting

Annual SAOP FISMA Reporting
Responsible Parties CFO Act Agencies (Required)

Small Agencies (Optional)
All Civilian Agencies CFO Act Agencies (Requried)

Small Agencies (Optional)
All Civilian Agencies