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Members of the Marine Corps’ cyber community — enlisted and civilian — can earn an advanced degree through the Information Assurance Scholarship Program.
Under the program, those serving in several cyber military occupational specialties may earn a master’s degree that will prepare them “for duty in high visibility information assurance assignments” at such commands as Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine expeditionary forces and Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command, according to Marine administrative message 650/13, signed Dec. 12.
Marines and civilians, GS-9 or higher, may attend the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio or the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Only civilians, GS-12 or higher, may attend the Information Resource Management College of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
Earning a master’s in information assurance can help Marines secure a career in aburgeoning community, one of the few offering financial incentives despite the manpower drawdown that will cull about 20,000 more Marines from the force by the start of 2017, bringing endstrength down to 174,000.
With the draw of lucrative civilian jobs in the cyber field, which may offer more than $100,000 per year, Marine officials have struggled to retain personnel in the cyber community. For that reason, it is one of the few still offering generous re-enlistment bonuses and has the highest payout in fiscal 2014, with $60,750 being offered to first-term Marines in the 0689 cyber security technician specialty.
To be eligible for a scholarship Marines must have:
■ A 0689 cyber security technician, 0659 cyber systems chief, or 0699 communications chief military occupational specialty
■ Active-duty status
■ A rank of staff sergeant, gunnery sergeant, master sergeant or master gunnery sergeant.
■ Between seven and 22 years of service.
■ At least five years remaining before hitting time-in-service limits.
■ At least 24 months time on station for CONUS or 36 months for OCONUS assignments before starting classes.
■ All requisite professional military education completed for their current rank.
■ Hold a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 grade point average.
■ Scores of at least a 153 verbal and 148 quantitative on the Graduate Record Examinations.
■ Eligibility for a secret clearance.
Those who attend school under a scholarship will incur additional years of service depending on the length of study. For one- year programs, Marines will be required to serve an additional three years. For programs longer than one year, they will incur an extra four years of service.
The deadline to apply is fast approaching, with applications due no later than Jan. 2. For details on how to apply refer to the MARADMIN, available online.