A year ago, the DoD updated the DoD 8140 Qualification Program, which manages cyber workforce talent. It takes into account proficiency levels needed to fill the various cyber positions in the DoD. For a deep dive into the program, you should check out the full updated DoD 8140.03 manual.

411 on the DoD 8140

While there are certain requirements, such as the Cyber 101 course that are organic to DoD, many of the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) needed for certain roles are evidenced by industry certifications. In other words, the accompanying DoD qualifications line up with industry certifications; however, as I understand it, the criteria to be qualified in a specific job is broader than the former DoD 8570 Manual, which relied almost extensively on industry certifications when determining an employee’s level of expertise.

Cyber Workforce Qualification Matrix

This new term of art is the Cyber Workforce Qualification Matrix. To see specific job qualifications, I would recommend doing a deep dive into the total factors to be considered when determining if an individual is qualified for a position.

Industry certifications are not all defining; however, they are still very important as a guide to determine an individual’s level of proficiency in the cyber workforce. While the Cyber Workforce Qualification Matrix is very large and comprehensive, a small sample size of a qualification of a certain role looks something like this:

For a software developer at the intermediate level, foundational requirements would include a Bachelor’s Degree or completion of specific offerings in the DoD 8140 training repository or the Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) designation offered by the ISC2 professional computer organization.

Flexibility in Hiring With the DoD 8140

In other words, there is flexibility in hiring for these positions, something the DoD has been focused on as it competes with private industry and other government agencies for cyber talent. As long as the DoD system described in 8140.03 is sufficient in upholding quality and compliance standards as directed, the program will continue to build attractive pathways for both current DoD employees wishing to cross train into cyber careers as well as private sector personnel who may be faced with layoffs due to downsizing.

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Joe Jabara, JD, is the Director, of the Hub, For Cyber Education and Awareness, Wichita State University. He also serves as an adjunct faculty at two other universities teaching Intelligence and Cyber Law. Prior to his current job, he served 30 years in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Kansas Air National Guard. His last ten years were spent in command/leadership positions, the bulk of which were at the 184th Intelligence Wing as Vice Commander.