Military Could Use Civilians to fill Cyber Jobs
WASHINGTON (April 15, 2015) — To better manage personnel, “the Army created the Cyber Branch 17 [for
Soldiers] and is exploring the possibility of creating a cyber career field for Army civilians,” Lt. Gen. Edward C.
Cardon told senators.
Cardon, commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command, or ARCYBER, testified before the Senate Armed Services
subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities during a hearing on “Military Cyber Programs and Posture,”
Establishing a cyber career management field for civilians may be easier than recruiting enough of them to fill
it, and then retaining that talent, he said.
Recruiting and retaining Army civilian cyber talent “is challenging,” he said, “given internal federal employment
constraints regarding compensation and a comparatively slow hiring process.”
Current efforts to attract and retain top civilian talent include “extensive marketing efforts, and leveraging
existing programs and initiatives run by the National Security Agency, Office of Personnel Management, and
National Science Foundation,” he said.
Also, he said that the “targeted and enhanced use of recruiting, relocation and retention bonuses, and
repayment of student loans will improve efforts to attract, develop and retain an effective cyber civilian
workforce. These authorities exist but require consistent and predictable, long-term funding.”
His last comment about predictable funding was an apparent reference to the congressional use of continuing
resolutions, the possibility of renewed sequestration and other unknowns like overseas contingency operations,
compensation reform and other factors.
Within the Army’s $126.5 billion fiscal year 2016 budget now in lawmaker’s hands, $1.02 billion of that is for cyber,
including $90 million to build out the new Cyber Center of Excellence operations headquarters on Fort Gordon,
Georgia, he said.
Cardon did not give a breakdown in the number of civilians, enlisted and officers the Army would need as cyber
grows. Instead, he lumped them together in one number. “After a detailed study, the Army determined it needs
3,806 military and civilian personnel with core cyber skills,” he said.
CYBER’S UNIFORMED SIDE
Filling the cyber ranks with Soldiers seems to be going much better, Cardon told lawmakers. “We just started
using six-year enlistments. We’re having no trouble filling that. We’re working through developing the best
model to retain them.”
Furthermore, the Cyber Center of Excellence, or CoE, in collaboration with ARCYBER and other stakeholders,
is working to implement a cyber career management field for enlisted personnel “that will encompass
accessions, career management, and retention this fiscal year.”
He said that the Army recently approved special-duty assignment pay, assignment incentive pay, and bonuses
for Soldiers serving in operational cyber assignments.
Another carrot the Army recently offered, he said, is expansion of cyber educational programs, including
training with industry, fellowships, civilian graduate education, and utilization of inter-service education
programs including the Air Force Institute of Technology and the Naval Postgraduate School. “We are
confident these will serve as additional incentives to retain the best personnel for this highly technical field.”
Guard and Reserve retention initiatives include bonuses for Soldiers transitioning into cyber from the active
side, he said. There will also be accession bonuses for commissioned and warrant officers going into Reserve