Introduction to the DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF)
In response to the ever-changing world, including the increased focus on cyberspace as a theater of war, the US Department of Defense (DoD) decided that it was time to make the necessary changes to ensure operational superiority in the new age of warfare. To this end, DoD launched the DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF).
This article will detail the DoD Cyber Workforce Framework and will explore what it is, its purpose and who it is for. If you ever wanted a high-level view of the DCWF, this article is for you.
What is the DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF)?
DCWF is a standardized workforce framework that DoD cybersecurity uses to categorize the full spectrum of cyber workforce roles. This framework is defined in DoD 8140, which replaced DoD 8570, which is an expanded and updated version of DoD8570 and draws on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) and the DoD Joint Cyberspace Training and Certification Standards (JCT & CS). DCWF presents seven broad categories of work roles, which are broken down into 54 work roles and 33 specialty areas.
This framework leverages the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act (FCWAA) to help streamline identification, tracking and reporting. Going further, DCWF is used to develop cyber work role qualification requirements outlined in the DoD 8140 Manual and can be used for DoD-wide planning activities and workforce management.
To promote better understanding of DCWF, such as how it is used, DoD enlisted DISA to help create an interactive online tool. The DCWF Tool can be found here. It is packed with useful information about the different categories of work roles, specialty areas, and has a work role search that allows you to browse the cyber work roles covered by DoD Cyber Workforce Framework. The work role search, including the full list available to browse, is here.
DCWF sorts the cyber workforce into seven categories:
- Collect and operate
- Operate and maintain
- Oversee and govern
- Protect and defend
- Securely provision
These seven categories are subdivided into specialty areas composed of the work roles covered by DCWF. These will be explored later in this article.
What is the purpose of DCWF?
DCWF was created by DoD cybersecurity in response to the nature of the cyber war space today. This space is constantly evolving with respect to threats and complexity. DCWF represents a reshaping of DoD’s cyber workforce understanding that includes all DoD personnel responsible for building, shaping, operating, defending and protecting cyber resources of the United States, as well as those that conduct cyber intelligence activities and those that enable cyber operations (both current and in the future). This moves the DoD from solely focusing on information assurance to a more comprehensive (inclusive) workforce focus.
Who is DCWF for?
DCWF covers 54 cyber work roles, organized into 33 specialty areas. Below is the complete list of work roles and the specialty areas they belong to, organized by their respective broad category.
All Source Analysis
- All-Source Analyst
- Mission Assessment Specialist
- Exploitation Analyst
- Multi-Disciplined Language Analyst
- Target Developer
- Target Network Analyst
- Warning Analyst
Collect & Operate
- All-Source Collection Manager
- All-Source Collection Requirements Manager
Cyber Operational Planning
- Cyber Intelligence Planner
- Cyber Operations Planner
- Partner Integration Planner
- Cyber Crime Investigator
- Cyber Defense Forensics Analyst
- Forensics Analyst
Operate & Maintain
Customer Service and Technical Support
- Technical Support Specialist
- Data Analyst
- Database Administrator
- Knowledge Manager
- Network Operations Specialist
- System Administrator
- Systems Security Analyst
Oversee & Govern
Acquisition and Program/Project Management
- IT Investment/Portfolio Manager
- IT Program Auditor
- IT Project Manager
- Product Support Manager
- Program Manager
- COMSEC Manager
- Information Systems Security Manager
Executive Cyber Leadership
- Executive Cyber Leadership
Legal Advice and Advocacy
- Cyber Legal Advisor
- Privacy Compliance Manager
Strategic Planning and Policy
- Cyber Policy and Strategic Planner
- Cyber Workforce Developer and Manager
Training, Education and Awareness
- Cyber Instructional Curriculum Developer
- Cyber Instructor
Protect & Defend
Cyber Defense Analysis
- Cyber Defense Analyst
Cyber Defense Infrastructure Support
- Cyber Defense Infrastructure Support Specialist
- Cyber Defense Incident Responder
Vulnerability Assessment & Management
- Vulnerability Assessment Analyst
- Authorizing Official/Designating Representative
- Security Control Assessor
- Secure Software Assessor
- Software Developer
- Enterprise Architect
- Security Architect
- Information Systems Security Developer
- Systems Developer
System Requirements Planning
- Systems Requirements Planner
- Research & Development Specialist
Test and Evaluation
- System Testing and Evaluation Specialist
It should be kept in mind that DCWF focuses on the personnel and not the work role. As another form of categorization, DoD groups personnel who work certain types of work roles into what is called workforce elements, presented below:
- IT (Cyberspace)
- Cyberspace Effects
- Intelligence (Cyberspace)
- Cyberspace Enablers
Warfare has shifted its focus to cyberspace and the battlefield is becoming more important by the day. To keep up with this reality, DoD revamped DoD cybersecurity by issuing the DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF). This framework shifts the focus of DoD cybersecurity away from solely information assurance and more towards the personnel end of the DoD cyber workforce.
More details about DCWF will be available in the DoD 8140 manual once it is released to the public.
The DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF), US Department of Defense Chief Information Officer
DoD Cyber Workforce Framework Tool, DoD Cyber Exchange Public
8570 and 8140 DoD Directives: What’s the Difference?, CBTnuggets Blog