Pentagon plans to hire 3,000 Cyber pros for the US Cyber Command

Pierluigi Paganini March 11, 2015

Federal officials announced that military received the green light to hire 3,000 cyber experts to assign to the US Cyber Command.

Information warfare is strategic for almost every government, North Korea, Russia, China, Danmark are among the countries that are more investing to improve their cyber capabilities, and of course, the Five Eyes.

The US Department of Defense announced that it plans to hire 3,000 cyber experts that will support the US Cyber Command, the new units will be added by the end of 2015, doubling its resources by 2016.

US Cyber Command

The also revealed further information on the new hires, for example the salaries start at $42,399 and can rise up to $132,122 depending on the capabilities of the candidate, which have to demonstrate their specific skills and knowledge.

“The pay scale for the new Defense positions starts at $42,399 and goes up to $132,122. Under the arrangement, the Pentagon can skip the process of rating applicants based on traditional competitive criteria. Instead, the department can offer jobs based on the candidate’s unique skills and knowledge. The special qualifications include the ability to analyze malware, respond to incidents, manage cyber fire drills and detect vulnerabilities, among other things. ” states the Defenseone website.

On 23 June 2009, the Secretary of Defense directed the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) to establish USCYBERCOM that reached full operational capability on 31 October 2010 when the command assumed responsibility for several existing organizations.

The United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) is an armed force subordinate to United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) that is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the US Department of Defense. Among the responsibilities of USSTRATCOM, there are informational operations such as information warfare intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR where C4I stands for command, control, communications, computers, and (military) intelligence).

“The United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes, and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US /Allied freedom of action in cyberspace, and deny the same to our adversaries.”

The USCYBERCOM is a structure that was built from scratch, that has a very challenging mission and that is slowly growing.

2Lt William Liggett works at the Air Force Space Command Network Operations & Security Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs

Cyber threats are increasing in frequency and complexity, for the US Government it is essential to confirm its hegemony on the cyber space, as confirmed by documents leaked by Snowden on the NSA digital arms race.

“USCYBERCOM confronted serious challenges from the outset. DoD networks had been planned and initially constructed decades earlier in an environment in which redundancy, resiliency, and defensibility were not always primary design characteristics,” Admiral Mike Rogers, the Head of the Cyber Command, shared with the members of the US House committee on Armed Service’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. “Operators in USCYBERCOM, not surprisingly, could not even see all of our networks, let alone monitor all the traffic coming into and out of them from the Internet. Our people were and are professionals, so that issue was rapidly engaged, but nonetheless the sheer volume of work involved in starting a new, subunified command was substantial.” 

According to the declaration of Admiral Rogers, the US Army is facing a shortage of skilled cyber experts, exactly like any other government. Admiral Rogers explained that the final number of personnel should be around 6,200.

“We are already hard pressed to find qualified personnel to man our CMF rosters, to get them cleared, and to get them trained and supported across all 133 teams,” said Admiral Rogers. 

Sources internal to the US Government revealed that recruiting and retaining Army civilian cyber talent is very hard considering the value the cyber experts have for for the private industry. To overwhelm these difficulties and attract young talents the Government will propose bonuses to incentive skilled professionals.

On Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, head of the Army Cyber Command, told House Armed Services subcommittee members that “recruiting and retaining Army civilian cyber talent is challenging given internal federal employment constraints regarding compensation and a comparatively slow hiring process.”

As reported by, ironically, Cyber Command may have even more trouble attracting security specialists when financial conditions brighten.

“We are aggressively hiring to our civilian authorizations consistent with our operational needs and fully supported by the Navy’s priority to ensure health of the cyber workforce.” testified Vice Admiral Jan Tighe, the top official at the Navy Fleet Cyber Command.


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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  US Cyber Command, Information Warfare)

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