On July 12th, U.S. Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Christopher Miller testified to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee (HASC) about the service’s restructuring decision in light of oncoming budget cuts. To the HASC’s Subcommittee on Readiness, Lt. Gen. Miller said "difficult choices had to be made in the budget," but that the Air Force’s 2013 budget request provided a good combination of air, space, and cyber capabilities.
Regarding deployment changes, Lt. Gen. Miller ensured the committee that the needs of both active, Reserve, and Guard personnel were taken into account. For active-duty USAF personnel, "the standard is to deploy one period deployed for every two non-deployed" while for Guard and Reserve airmen it is "one period deployed for five non-deployed." The outcome is that active Air Force personnel deploy more frequently.
These are lean times for the U.S. Air Force. In addition to upgrading its aging fleet of aircraft, the service is responsible for combating the growing number of cyber-attacks from foreign governments and other groups. Even a cursory glance at the news reveals the significant need for more cybersecurity workers — especially those with a security clearance. The nature of the cyberthreat is such that not only will it certainly increase in the future, it is likely that the threat will never decline.
For the cleared job seeker, this means one thing: despite the budget cuts cybersecurity is and will continue to be a high-demand sector for the foreseeable future. Even within the public sector, cybersecurity spending is growing; as such there is tough competition for those with the appropriate skillsets. Job seekers with cybersecurity experience can push a hard bargain when it comes to salary. Furthermore, currently employed workers in the field should keep an eye on the job listings for a chance to increase salary.
Mike Jones is a researcher, writer, and analyst on national and international security. He lives in the DC area.