Special pays of up to $500 a month have been approved as accession and retention incentives for soldiers who serve with the Army's growing Cyber Mission Force.

The incentives are part of the high-priority and high-speed campaign to build a career branch of some 3,800 officers, enlisted soldiers and civilians who will comprise the Army's team of cyberwarfare specialists.

While efforts to build the civilian component of that team have not reached top speed, the military buildup is going well from an accessions standpoint, according to Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, commander of Army Cyber Command.

"We just started six-year enlistments,([and]) are having no trouble filling that," said Cardon in testimony April 14 before the emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"We're working through the best model to retain them," he told the lawmakers.

Senior Army leaders authorized the establishment of Cyber Branch last September, and the service is now in the process of establishing 17-series career fields for officers, warrant officers and enlisted soldiers.

The buildup is being done in phases, and will move forward June 22 with the convening of a specialty 17A Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program board for officers in the ranks of second lieutenant through colonel.

Army Cyber Command and the Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, Georgia., are jointly developing a career management field for enlisted cyber-specialists that will encompass accessions, career management and retention.

Cardon said the developmental effort will be completed by the end of fiscal 2015.

The Army's fiscal 2016 budget request now before Congress seeks about $1 billion for cyber activities, including construction projects at Fort Gordon.

Cardon said that as of mid-April, the Army had 25 operational Cyber Mission Force teams in the active component, a total that is projected to increase to 41 by Sept. 30, 2016.

The National Guard and Army Reserve will enhance the service's cyber capability with 21 teams.

Edward C. ÒCamÓ Farmer Jr (lower left) with fellow Marine Corps veterans. (courtesy of David Farmer)
Edward C. ÒCamÓ Farmer Jr (lower left) with fellow Marine Corps veterans. (courtesy of David Farmer)

The Army Secretariat recently approved two special pays for soldiers assigned to positions in the Cyber Mission Force based on the rigorous screening and schooling required of such soldiers. Those pays are:

Assignment Incentive Pay

AIP is authorized for enlisted soldiers, warrant officers and commissioned officers who are permanently assigned to Cyber Mission Force positions and who:

  • Have been awarded a military occupational specialty or area of concentration required inside the force.
  • Are fully qualified for retention and are in good standing with the Army (not under a Uniform Code of Military Justice action).
  • Agree to serve in an approved Cyber Force billet for one to three years.

AIP maximum payment amounts are:

  • $200 monthly for soldiers certified as Cyber Force apprentices.
  • $300 monthly for Cyber fForce journeymen.
  • $500 monthly for Cyber Force masters.

Special Duty Assignment Pay

This category of special pay is a monthly incentive for enlisted soldiers, privates first class and above, who perform certain duties that are unusually demanding, or that require a high degree of training and responsibility.The three payment levels approved for soldiers serving in Cyber Mission Force positions are:

  • SD-2, $150 monthly for Cyber Force apprentices.
  • SD-3, $225 monthly for Cyber Fforce journeymen.
  • SD-4, $300 monthly for Cyber Force masters.