army cyber network defender - mos 25d
Army

Army Cyber Network Defender (MOS 25D)

Army Cyber Network Defenders (MOS 25D) perform specialized computer network defense duties.

An Army Cyber Network Defender protects and detects unauthorized activity in cyberspace.

Some of their work includes supporting infrastructure, providing incident response, as well as auditing and managing.

It is a computer/desk job that requires a fair amount of education and training.

Education, Qualifications, and Training

army mos 25d
Army Cyber Network Defenders (MOS 25D) protect very important military computer networks. Image: Defense.gov

The role of a Cyber Network Defender (MOS 25D) is relatively new to the U.S. Army.

In fact, 25D MOS has only been around since 2013 when it was created as a military occupational specialty (MOS) to assist against the rising threat of cyber attacks.

What does it take to become an Army Cyber Network Defender?

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Education

The first step is to finish high school or receive a GED equivalent.

You cannot join the U.S. Army without one of the following.

Prospective Army Cyber Network Defenders must also perform well on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

You need to complete a score of:

  • General Technical (GT): 105
  • Skilled Technical (ST): 105

It is also worth mentioning that while a GED or high school diploma is all that is required to join the military, prospective 25D MOS fair much better if they have a two-year or four-year college degree.

Those with a computer-related degree are more prone to get considered for the challenging, very competitive MOS.

Qualifications

It is not possible to become an Army Cyber Network Defender (MOS 25D) directly after enlistment.

Cyber Network Defenders are only considered with an Army rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) or higher.

Additionally, the Army requires you to have at least four years of experience in Information Technology (IT) and Information Architecture (IA).

The experience must get verified by a personnel development officer.

Thirdly, you will need to have “Top Secret Security Clearance” in order to become MOS 25D.

Military background checks for security clearance are notoriously thorough and will involve examining your personal and financial history.

While not mandatory the Army also recommends the following skills for an Army Cyber Network Defender (MOS 25D):

  • Self-discipline, confidence, and intelligence.
  • Physical and mental fitness to perform well under pressure.
  • Attention to detail and ability to make quick decisions.
  • Ability to stay focused and adhere to high ethical standards.
  • Capability to bear numerous responsibilities and multi-task.

Training

Army Cyber Network Defenders (MOS 25D) are unlike most Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) in that you cannot become one directly after enlistment.

So after serving your time, progressing to the rank of E-6, and reaching other mandatory education and requirements of 25D MOS you can eventually reach job training.

Job training for an Army Cyber Network Defender is received at the USA Signal School at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

You will learn how to conduct offensive and defensive cyberspace operations at the USA Signal School.

Job training will also teach you how to analyze information and is a combination of classroom learning as well as time in the field.

What does an Army Cyber Network Defender Do?

cyber network defender
MOS 25D was created by the U.S. Army recently, in 2013, amid growing cyber security threats. Image: Flickr

MOS 25D Cyber Network Defender was added to the Army in 2013.

The position has evolved around the modern threats of cyber warfare and national security.

Army Cyber Network Defenders combat the threat of cyber attacks through computer networks.

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Job Duties of MOS 25D

The number of job duties related to this very important role in the U.S. Army is lengthy.

We cannot possibly explain every job situation you will encounter, but here is a general idea:

  • Responds to crisis or urgent situations within the network to mitigate immediate or potential cyber attacks.
  • Protect information systems and networks from threats.
  • Conducts assessments of threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Provides detailed analysis reports.
  • Tests, implements, and deploys infrastructure software and hardware.
  • Prepared to introduce mitigation, preparedness, as well as response and recovery approaches when necessary.
  • Creates defensive measures and information collected from a variety of sources to identify, analyze, and report events that occur or potentially may occur in the future.

Part of your time in the Army may also include training and informing commanding officers or inferior ranks on computer systems and cyber threats.

Knowledge and Expertise

You will gain the knowledge and expertise in the following computer systems through the role of an Cyber Network Defender (MOS 25D):

  • Automated Information Systems (AIS) Security
  • Computer Terminal Devices
  • Networking Theory and Concepts
  • Windows and UNIX Operating Systems
  • Message Formatting for Telecommunications
  • Processioning Incoming/Outgoing Messages

All in all, the primary objective of an Army Cyber Network Defender is to help create computer systems that can handle sensitive military data while withstanding external cyber threats.

What does an Army Cyber Network Defender make?

25d army cyber security
The job outlook for MOS 25D is one of the strongest of any military occupational specialty. Image: Army.com

Army Cyber Network Defenders (MOS 25D) being at the pay level of E-6 (Staff Sergeant) since you must be at least this rank to work in the MOS.

Pay for a Cyber Network Defender ranges from $31,350 per year for those with two or fewer years of experience and $48,500 for those with at least 18 years of experience.

Once you progress to more than 34 years of experience you could earn over $94,000 per year as MOS 25D.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviationAvg. Monthly Pay
E-1PrivatePVT$1,681
E-2Private Second ClassPV2$1,884
army e 3 insignia - pfcE-3Private First ClassPFC$1,981
army e 4 insignia - specialistE-4SpecialistSPC$2,195
army e 4 insignia - corporalE-4CorporalCPL$2,195
E-5SergeantSGT$2,394
E-6Staff SergeantSSG$2,613
E-7Sergeant First ClassSFC$3,021
army e 8 insignia - master sergeantE-8Master SergeantMSG$4,345
E-8First Sergeant1SG$4,345
E-9Sergeant MajorSGM$5,308
E-9Command Sergeant MajorCSM$5,308
e 9 sergeant major of the army insigniaE-9Sergeant Major of the ArmySMA$5,308

Pay is comparable to what you may earn in the private sector.

Though 2019 data has the median annual salary at $98,350 for Information Security Analysts (the closest civilian job equivalent to 25D MOS), the bottom ten percent only pays $56,750 as a median.

It means that depending on your Army rank and years of experience you could make close to the median bottom 10 percent in the private sector.

It does not include all the terrific benefits as part of being part in the Army.

Benefits

The excellent benefits package of the U.S. Army includes:

  • Vacation Time
  • Special Pay
  • Medical Insurance
  • Retirement
  • Education: Army members can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus annual stipend for living expenses.
  • Housing: Allowances for living expenses, utilities, and maintenance.
  • Food: Allowance for the on-base dining hall and access to tax-free department and grocery stores.

Job Reviews

Unfortunately, there are not any job reviews related to being an Army Cyber Network Defender (MOS 25D) on career sites like Indeed.com and GlassDoor.com.

Part of the reason is the MOS is very new (it was created in 2013) and most people still work in the military and are unable to disclose information about the top security clearance position.

Regardless, you can find numerous job reviews about Information Security Analysts and Computer Systems Analysts in the private sector by searching for them on career websites.

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Civilian Job Opportunities

Cyber Network Defender jobs are one of the fastest growing careers in the United States.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for Information Security Analysts are expected to grow by 28% until 2026.

It is 4x better than the projected 7% job growth rate for all other occupations when rounded into a median.

Consequently, if you want to jump into a relatively new and demanding, yet career with a high growth potential you should consider MOS 25D.

Those with direct job experience in the U.S. Army should have absolutely no problem finding civilian employment after leaving the military.

Summary

Cyber Network Defenders (MOS 25D) is one of the newer Military Occupational Specialties in the Army.

Though you cannot become 25D MOS directly after enlistment it is a goal you should work for as you progress to military rank Staff Sergeant (E-6).

The job outlook for Cyber Network Defenders is incredibly strong and you could earn six figures working as an Information Security Analyst, Computer Systems Analyst, or Computer and Information Systems Manager.

References:

  1. https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/browse-career-and-job-categories/computers-and-technology/cyber-network-defender.html
  2. https://www.cool.army.mil/enlisted/25d.htm
Rob V.
Rob V.
Rob V. is the founder of OperationMilitaryKids.org. While he never actually served in the US Military, he has a passion for writing about military related topics. Born and raised in Woodbridge, NJ, he graduated from the New Jersey Institute Of Technology with an MBA in eCommerce. His hobbies include beach volleyball, target shooting, and lifting. Rob is also a commercially rated pilot with over 1,500 hours of flight time.

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