NETCOM transitions to the Cyber Excepted Service

By Enrique Tamez Vasquez, NETCOM Public Affairs OfficeFebruary 27, 2023

CES is a mission-focused personnel system that aligns to both Title 10 and Title 5 provisions, designed to support the human capital lifecycle for civilian employees engaged in, or in support of, a cyber-related mission. (Photo Credit: Graphical representation by Amanda Pearson, NETCOM Multi-Media Officer) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz., - As the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Army move to recruit, retain, and manage a more agile cyber workforce, the Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) is now transitioning its Department of the Army (DA) civilian workforce to the Cyber Excepted Service (CES).

CES is a mission-focused personnel system that aligns to both Title 10 and Title 5 provisions, designed to support the human capital lifecycle for civilian employees engaged in, or in support of, a cyber-related mission.

This new personnel system, under the authority of the Secretary of Defense, provides advantageous human capital flexibilities and benefits for hiring managers and employees that are not available under the Title 5 competitive service. CES also retains the strong employee protections and benefits that are enjoyed within the competitive service – creating a hybrid system that provides the best of both worlds.

NETCOM stands to benefit from this new personnel system as CES will strengthen the command’s ability to accomplish the cyber mission in an ever-changing national security environment.

From a human resources and talent acquisition standpoint, CES is poised to provide greater flexibilities and options for recruiting and retaining cyber professionals across NETCOM. The system will provide agile recruitment sourcing flexibilities to solicit high quality candidates, while streamlining HR procedures to ensure the timely acquisition of mission-focused talent. CES will also leverage recruitment and retention flexibilities, including a market-based pay structure, to deliver competitive compensation packages.

Although all new hires will fall under the CES personnel system, current employees will have to make a choice of whether or not to enroll in the CES system.

“Generally, employees will be given the option to voluntarily convert from the competitive service to CES. Each employee will be provided with a personalized conversion letter, explaining their options. Employees will have a 15 to 30-day window to make their decision,” said Brittany Arvizu, NETCOM G-1 HR Specialist and CES Project Lead. Likewise, if an employee declines to voluntarily convert to CES, their position will only be converted to CES once vacated.

According to Mrs. Arvizu, CES conversion letters are currently being sent to employees following a phased transition approach. Eligible NETCOM Headquarters employees received their CES conversion letters in Phase I, on 13-February-2023. 7th Signal Command (Theater) will follow in Phase II and will issue their CES conversion letters around May of 2023 and the rest of NETCOM and all RCC’s will receive their letters in the final phase (Phase III), around June/July of 2023.

The CES provides many opportunities for current DoD employees who choose to opt-in to CES; to  include: qualification-based (no time-in-grade) requirements for promotions, Quality Step Increase (QSI) awards up to the step 11 and 12 (with justification), Targeted Local Market Supplements (TLMS) for some DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF) work role codes (TLMS is expected to be expanded in the future), future career management programs, and developmental and rotational assignments across the DoD cyber community. Mrs. Arvizu added, CES will impact the NETCOM hiring process in a positive way, explaining hiring officials will now have maximum hiring flexibilities.

“While CES is not a Direct Hire Authority (DHA), it permits the direct appointment of qualified applicants from all sources. Under CES, any U.S. Citizen can apply and be considered if they are in the area of consideration and qualified,” Mrs. Arvizu said.

Consequently, NETCOM will be able to conduct targeted recruitment at job fairs, academic institutions, internally within the command, and other sources to reach qualified personnel. In addition, CES has the potential to decrease time-to-hire requirements currently found under Title 5; thus, decreasing the amount of time it takes for a candidate to on-board.

Once CES is fully implemented, personnel who are interested in working for ARCYBER/NETCOM can send their resume and location preference to the ARCYBER/NETCOM recruiting group-box ( for consideration.

The group-box will then forward the interested candidate’s resume to hiring officials in their location of preference. Hiring managers will contact the individual directly if they are interested in discussing employment opportunities.