Cyber Defense Review

The Cyberspace Workforce: An Array of Opportunities

By MAJ Brian M. Schultz, COL Andrew O. Hall | May 01, 2017

In private industry, businesses identify employment needs, create job openings, and attempt to attract talent. Likewise, the U.S. Army created the Cyber branch in a similar manner. The Army created authorizations, or job openings, for Cyber officers and talent was acquired through the Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program (VTIP). The Cyber branch received no shortage of requests for transfer and the VTIP fulfilled the authorization requirements through a selective process. Unlike industry, the Army created the Cyber branch within a closed personnel system, and the VTIP only considered individuals already commissioned as officers in the Army. Talented civilians in industry and academia may have a desire to serve their country. Below we summarize the many options the Army could use to employ Cyberspace talent that exists outside the military

Enlisting presents one such option. The enlisted Soldier, an entry-level worker, performs roles similar to a security analyst or exploitation analyst. Typical commitments for enlisting include a 6-year contract. During that time, an enlisted Soldier would likely serve in the grades of E-4 through E-5 and could anticipate a total annual income of $52,900 during the enlisted Soldier and the Defense Travel Management Office. Total military compensation could bring this total to an equivalent salary of $66,400 given federal tax advantages regarding allowances for housing and sustenance. In addition, enlisted Soldiers receive advanced training and gain highly valued skills most often acquired from higher education. One could consider this training a form of compensation in itself.

The Warrant Officer provides another opportunity for serving in the Army.  While the Cyberspace workforce does not currently recruit civilians to join as a Warrant Officer, the military does authorize this path in other specialties, as evidenced by the Aviation branch. Warrant Officers serve as skilled technicians who perform roles similar to penetration testers. Serving as a Warrant Officer would also include a six-year initial commitment. During that time, a Warrant Officer would serve at grades WO1 through CW3 and could anticipate a total annual income of $82,200 during the Warrant Officer. This figure includes the same base pay and allowances considered above; calculated using resources from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and the Defense Travel Management Office. Total military compensation could bring this total to an equivalent salary of $90,300 given federal tax advantages pertaining to the allowances for housing and sustenance. In addition, the Army can pay Warrant Officers bonuses bringing this annual salary closer to $150,000 for highly skilled technical experts.

Most Army officers commission through the four-year and two-year commissioning programs of the United States Military Academy and the Reserve Officer Training Corps; however, another opportunity for the Cyberspace workforce includes enlisting as an entry-level officer. An onboarding process for this approach already exists through the traditional path of Basic Combat Training, Officer Candidate School, and the Cyber Basic Officer Leadership Course. Given the length and duration of each program in this sequence, the onboarding process takes longer than one year. Once onboard, these officers would serve as planners, managers, and developers. Serving as an entry-level officer requires a Bachelor degree and would carry a three-year initial commitment. During that time, an officer would serve at grades O-1 through O-2 and could anticipate a total annual income of $78,400 during the officer figure includes the base pay and allowances considerations as above; calculated using resources from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and the Defense Travel Management Office. Total military compensation could bring this total to an equivalent salary of $83,800 given federal tax advantages regarding allowances for housing and sustenance.

Grade Step 1

7

$44,941

8

$49,771

9

$54,972

10

$60,538

11

$66,510

12

$79,720

13

$94,796

14

$112,021

15

$131,767

Serving as an Army civilian presents another option for entering the Cyberspace workforce. The onboarding process for this approach is much shorter. Army civilians in the Cyber workforce serve as analysts, planners, managers, and developers. While Army civilians can work in various roles, they can also work at various pay grades. The table to the right details the annual salary of various Army civilian pay grades, starting at Step 1, for the Maryland area, according to the 2017 Salary Tables provided by the Office of Personnel Management. Salary information for civilian salaries at other steps are also available.

The Highly Qualified Expert (HQE) program presents an additional option for civilian service. Under this program, the Secretary of the Army can appoint a civilian to the grade of GS-15 or the Executive Service for up to three years. The Army can authorize pay far exceeding that of the GS-15 grade, but an HQE may not earn a higher annual salary than that of the Vice President of the United States. Department of Defense policy states,

As authorized by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, directly commissioning officers for Cyberspace specialties is now an additional option for serving in the Armys Cyber workforce. Direct commission officers could start at a pay grade commensurate with their civilian experience, skill, and education level, serving in grades from O-1 to O-6. Currently, decisions have not been made on commitment requirements for direction commission officers; however, an officer serving for three years in the grade of O-3 could anticipate an equivalent salary of $95,200 in the officer These figures include the same base pay and allowance considerations as above and include federal tax advantages that pertain to these allowances.

In the coming months and years, this direct commission option will take hold in the form of a pilot program. The Army will still employ talent using all of the other options discussed above and should consider other non-traditional ways to leverage the Cyberspace expertise that exists in the Nation

In the end, several options for serving now exist. Talented civilians can also choose between various roles: analyst, planner, penetration tester, developer, and manager. The direct commission pilot program provides the opportunity to join the workforce at a position more advanced than entry-level; a change that begins to alter the notion of the Army's closed personnel system. Allowing talented civilians to join the Army to serve as Warrant Officers would expand this possibility even further. When considering the future of Cyberspace and the threats the Army and Nation might face, it makes sense to consider all options and have the mechanisms in place to pair talented civilians with the job role they would like to fill.

 

Endnotes

1 United States. Department of Defense. Defense Finance and Accounting Service. 2017 Military Pay Tables. Department of Defense, n.d. Web, February 14, 2017.

2 "BAH Calculator." BAH Calculator. Department of Defense, n.d. Web, February 14, 2017.

3 These figures can vary significantly based on an enlisted Soldier’s grade, marital status, and possible bonus pay.

4 "Military Compensation." Regular Military Compensation (RMC) Calculator. http://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/RMC-Calculator/. Accessed March 10, 2017.

5 United States. Department of Defense. Defense Finance and Accounting Service. 2017 Military Pay Tables.

6 "BAH Calculator." BAH Calculator. http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm. Accessed February 14, 2017.

7 "Military Compensation." Regular Military Compensation (RMC) Calculator.

http://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/RMC-Calculator/. Accessed March 10, 2017.

8 United States. Department of Defense. Defense Finance and Accounting Service. 2017 Military Pay Tables.

9 "BAH Calculator." BAH Calculator. http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm. Accessed February 14, 2017.

10 "Military Compensation." Regular Military Compensation (RMC) Calculator. http://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/RMC-Calculator/. Accessed March 10, 2017.

11 United States. Office of Personnel Management. SALARY TABLE 2017-DCB. https://www.opm.gov/policy-data- oversight/pay-leave/salaries- wages/salary-tables/pdf/2017/DCB.pdf

12 United States. Department of Defense. USD(P&R). DoD Civilian Personnel Management System: Employment of Highly Qualified Experts (HQEs). 1400.25th ed. Vol. 922. Accessed February 17, 2017.

13 This figure also assumes that no military service credit or constructive service credit was granted for professional experience to the direct commission officer. Some medical branches grant service credit for both military and civilian experience and apply this credit to time in service calculations effectively raising the potential salary of direct commissions, as detailed in Department of Defense Instruction 6000.13.

14 "Military Compensation." Regular Military Compensation (RMC) Calculator. http://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/RMC-Calculator/. Accessed March 10, 2017.

 



US Army Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. Army reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The Army and the Army alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the Army, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying Army endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

Army does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Army may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. Army does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Army or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.