White House Cyber Force Has a $140,000 Opening

Orhan Cam/Shutterstock.com

Our cyber defenders are always on guard. Take that, China.

The White House has begun staffing a new policymaking cyber unit, according to a hiring notice on the federal government's job board. 

The opening is for an information technology specialist who would fetch between $63,722 and $139,523 a year. Interested cyber pros better act fast. The application window closes on or before March 2. 

The Office of Management and Budget, which sets and enforces federal computing rules, announced the formation of the Cyber and National Security Unit, known as "E-Gov Cyber," earlier this month. The new office reflects the White House's heightened awareness of the cyberthreat, including tenacious hacks at the State Department, Postal Service and the Oval Office itself.  

The new opening, posted on USAJobs.gov, also makes mention of a "unit chief." There is no word yet on whether anyone has been tapped for that managerial spot.

The Office of Personnel Management has allowed the nonsupervisor position to be filled under "direct authority," a fast-track process used when there is a critical hiring need.

"Due to the large number of qualified applicants for positions of this type" the application period will end either March or "the date that 150 applications are received; whichever occurs first," the notice states. Job responsibilities include writing policy proposals, as well as providing technical expertise on the development of agency cyber standards and ways of enforcing those standards. For example, OMB is expected to make sure agencies notify victims of data breaches per a yet-to-be-determined timetable.  

For this reason, computer whizzes applying must possess fierce verbal skills and aplomb handling government bureaucrats. "Strong writing, speaking, analytic, and executive briefing skills are a must," according to the notice.

The tapped expert will have to "ensure timely and accurate responses are provided to frequent inquiries from OMB and federal agency leadership, management and staff -- developing and maintaining effective work relationships with key internal and external stakeholders," OMB officials said.  

Those looking for job security might want to look elsewhere. Tenure is dependent on the whims of congressional appropriators and is capped at four years.

"This is a term-limited appointment for two calendar years from the time of hiring, with a possible extension of two additional years if performance is acceptable and funding is available," the listing states. 

Speaking of tenuous job security, Sony, the victim of a 2014 destructive computer breach and massive leak of confidential data, is also looking for a senior director for cyber defense.

The chosen White House employee will be subject to random drug tests, according to USAJobs. Unless the federal government rewrites regulations, government personnel are banned from smoking pot. 

Specific job duties include, among other things, collecting data on agency compliance with threat-monitoring mandates. The selected individual also will be involved in writing periodic reports to Congress and federal overseers. The professional must have robust financial skills to project the costs of governmentwide cyber initiatives, according to OMB. 

The job listing does not require any cybersecurity certifications. The requirements, however, do call for extensive formal education: "A graduate degree in computer science, engineering, information science, information systems management, mathematics, operations research, statistics or technology management or degree that provided a minimum of 24 semester hours in one or more of the fields identified above and required the development or adaptation of applications, systems or networks."