Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content

Access World-Class NIST RMF Documentation with ASP Learn More

'Special Pay' Helping to Keep Pentagon's Elite Cyber Professionals with U.S. Government

Arlington Security Portal

Get Access to 100 + NIST RMF security and privacy policies & procedures, programs, and plan templates.

Cybersecurity talent is getting harder and harder to come by, but even more challenging to keep in today’s incredibly tight labor market.  As for the federal government, they’re in competition just as much as the private sector when it comes to finding the best and brightest cyber talent.  To help bolster efforts in keeping talent from jumping ship, the U.S. military is pumping millions of dollars into the pockets of federal employees for what they call “cyber retention bonuses.”

Per a recent Government  Accountability Office (GAO) report, “To accomplish its national security mission and defend a wide range of critical infrastructure, DoD must recruit, train, and retain a knowledgeable and skilled cyber workforce…However, DoD faces increasing competition from the private sector looking to recruit top cyber talent to protect systems and data from a barrage of foreign attacks.”

Such compensation is more than justified, according to what Army Cyber Command officials told the GAO as money spent on retention bonuses is easily offset by the costs of recruitment and training to replace cyber personnel. Case in point - the replacement cost for a service member in the 17C career field, or cyber operations specialist,is approximately $400,000, while the retention bonus offered to a person with that training is roughly $92,000 spread over six years.[1]

As the United States armed forces move into the next wave of warfront fighting, a massive emphasis on cyber is needed, and is currently underway.

Said Lt. Gen. John Morrison, deputy chief of staff, G-6, “You will continue to see the growth of our cyber branch, as we proliferate cyber-electromagnetic activities, capabilities…Think cyber and electronic warfare, integrated together, throughout all of our tactical formations.”[2]

About Arlington

We are Arlington, Incorporated (Arlington), a team of innovative, solution-oriented, highly agile, and well-versed professionals with decades of experience in working with America’s defense industry. From emerging cybersecurity regulations to helping our clients solve complex security & compliance solutions – and so much more – you can trust Arlington, the firm that’s Dedicated to Defense®.  Learn more at