Under the Defense Department United Services Military Apprenticeship Program umbrella, the Department of Labor has established several cybersecurity trades to support the goals of the National Cyber Security Registered Apprenticeship Program and is in the process of developing more apprenticeships. In January 2022, the DOD and DOL partnered to establish the first federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program.
Since the program’s inception, the DOD identified and developed standards for 15 critical cybersecurity occupations to address military needs and potentially serve as a model for other federal agencies as well.
The largest DOL registered apprenticeship program, USMAP is a formal military training program that provides enlisted active-duty and reserve service members opportunities to improve their job skills and the ability to earn a nationally recognized journeyworker certificate upon completion. As part of the portfolio of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, USMAP permits enrolled service members to record their on-duty work hours for time-based apprenticeships or demonstrate existing mastery through competency-based apprenticeships.
Since inception of the first federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program via USMAP, 15 critical cybersecurity occupations have been finalized and approved. Five critical cybersecurity occupations were approved earlier in 2022, and 10 were approved during a 120-Day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint. Both departments are working to finalize other additional cybersecurity occupational areas over the next several months.
Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint is a national campaign to encourage employers, industry associations, labor unions and training providers to explore registered apprenticeships as a recruitment, training and retention strategy and connect with the Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship to develop new apprenticeship programs or quickly join existing programs. Within the DOD and DOL, USMAP is strengthening technical apprenticeable skills in targeted areas and facilitating private sector employment opportunities for transitioning Service members.
Furthermore, DOD issued a memo — jointly signed by the Chief Information Officer and the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment — aimed at expanding the cybersecurity workforce by encouraging the use of registered apprenticeship programs. These efforts will help DOD and the defense industrial base continue to identify, recruit, develop and retain the cybersecurity workforce that can support the nation’s efforts to defend against current and future cyber threats and attacks.
“Our peers in federal government and industry can leverage the DOD’s already established cybersecurity registered apprenticeships to create their own within their organizations,” Gary Schaub, senior advisor for professional military education in the OUSD P&R, said. “Commonality will enhance recruitment and retention of the cybersecurity workforce as well as foster common competency and portability across federal government and industry.”
The 15 USMAP cybersecurity apprenticeships, developed by the DOD and approved by the DOL Office of Apprenticeship throughout the Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint, include the following:
- Network Operations Specialist
- Cyber IT Knowledge Manager
- Cyber Defense Incident Responder
- Technical Security Specialist
- Customer Service Tech Support
- Fiber Technician
- Cyber Database Administrator
- Cyber Defense Analyst
- System Security Analyst
- Vulnerability Assessment Analyst
- Cyber Defense Infrastructure Support Specialist
- System Admin
- Cyber Digital Forensics
- Cyber All Source Analyst
- Cyber Intel Planner
The DOD has taken action in the cybersecurity apprenticeship space and will continue to promote development of tools and resources designed to empower service members and veterans to pursue training and credentialing opportunities that will help them succeed in military and civilian careers alike. While the DOD ensures the military services are prepared to execute the mission requirements for national defense — today and in the future — their actions also compliment the civilian industries’ employment demand signals and changes to meet the nation’s needs. The DOD stands ready to support service members and veterans to meet both of these challenges.