The majority of employees working for the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command have converted to a new status, called Cyber Excepted Service (CES), that gives them the opportunity for meaningfully higher pay raises. Fleet Cyber Command (FCC) is the Navy’s information network, space, and cybersecurity unit.
Of the 1,050 FCC employees who have been eligible to convert to CES, 650 have done so, according to information provided to ClearanceJobs by Lieutenant Commander Tabitha Klingensmith of Fleet Public Affairs.
Created by Congress in fiscal 2016, CES was launched to “ create an Enterprise-wide approach to effectively manage civilian cyber professionals.“ It also is supposed to assist the department with carrying out its cyber missions, help the department recruit cyber professionals more effectively, and allow the department to “deliver competitive compensation packages.”
In August 2017, the United States Cyber Command, Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks, and Office of the Deputy Chief Information Officer for Cybersecurity began implementing the CES system. CES was adopted by each military service’s cyber unit in August 2019. The Defense Information Systems Agency also adopted CES at that time.
All eligible employees in the continental U.S. have had the opportunity to convert to CES, except for 100+ collective bargaining employees who can convert over the next six to nine months. About 280 employees outside of the continental U.S. will also be able to convert to CES over the next six to nine months.
The compensation of all CES employees can reach Step 12, versus Step 10 for all regular competitive civil service employees. Additionally, CES employees can be given special compensation supplements, known as Total Market Supplement pay, or TLMS. According to the information provided by Klingensmith, TLMS can increase salaries by “up to 50%.” Finally, whereas civil service employees receive pay raises based on seniority, CES employees are granted pay raises based on their performance.
But employees who convert to CES will not get immediate compensation increases. If an employee declines to convert, his or her position will be converted after he or she leaves the job. For certain cybersecurity employees, known as Cyber Schedule A employees, conversion to CES is mandatory.
The work undertaken by current employees does not change when they convert to CEs status. On the negative side, CES employees can be demoted or removed at any time. The CES program is overseen by the Department of Defense’s Chief Information Office, along with the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
Not surprisingly, the Navy is looking to recruit IT specialists, telecom specialists, computer scientists, and IT security professionals into the CES program. But it’s also seeking financial and administration specialists, along with management analysts.
In the next phase of CES adoption, slated to take place in January 2023, additional agencies are expected to give their employees the opportunity to convert to CES. The upcoming phase will be “based on forthcoming congressional and DoD guidance.”