The Department of Defense (DoD) has approved a pay raise for STEM and cyber positions within its intelligence components, such as the National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert Cisneros quietly approved the pay increases in a May 10 memo, effective the first pay period after the memo.

Specifically, Cisneros – who is stepping down from his role at the DoD in early September – approved a Targeted Local Market Supplement (TLMS) for selected Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel (DCIPS) STEM and cyber positions.

DCIPS is the human resources management system for the DoD intelligence community. It incorporates all DoD intelligence positions under a single, performance-based, mission-focused personnel management system.

“Competition for STEM and cyber talent has continued to increase in recent years, with private sector compensation for this talent far outpacing the current rates associated with STEM talent,” a May Frequently Asked Questions document from DoD says. “Following a request from NSA to update the current special NSA STEM rates, the Human Capital Management Office (HCMO) commenced a study of STEM/cyber compensation across the enterprise to account for STEM/cyber talent that resides in components outside NSA.”

“As a result, we determined that an enterprise approach, rather than component-by-component approach, was required to address the STEM/cyber hiring and retention issues,” it adds.

Under the new DCIPS pay scale, eligible entry-level positions will pay a minimum of $76,156. Those in top-level positions – such as supervisors, high-level technical specialists, and top professionals holding advanced degrees – can be paid as much as $183,500 under the new pay scale.

The DoD’s HCMO will review the TLMS rates every two years “for alignment to labor market rates, using appropriate commercial compensation surveys,” according to the FAQ document.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched a similar pay raise in July, implementing a Special Salary Rate (SSR) to increase the basic pay for thousands of its IT and cybersecurity employees.

Similarly, the VA told MeriTalk that the SSR will “close the gap between market salary and Federal government rates,” providing a pay raise for VA Office of Information and Technology (OIT) personnel.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.