Center for Security Studies

Background, Description and Employment Opportunities

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Information assurance (security) is considered so important to our national defense that a formal Department of Defense (DoD) Information Assurance Scholarship Program was established by the National Defense Authorization Act for 2001 (Public Law 106-398). The purpose is to promote the education, recruitment and retention of rising junior and senior undergraduate and graduate/doctoral students in information assurance studies and of students seeking graduate certificates in information assurance disciplines.

The DoD is seeking rising junior and senior (third and fourth year) undergraduate and graduate/doctoral students who are interested in full-ride scholarships for concentrated studies in information assurance. Students selected for the program will receive full scholarships. This requires the student to agree to serve one year of service to the DoD, upon graduation, for each year of scholarship received, in addition to the internship identified below. An opportunity also exists for Reserve and National Guard participation. The time frame for pay back under these scenarios is a little different given the nature of the work for the Reserves and National Guard. The obligated service commitment the Reserves and National Guard will be considered to be two years of service for every year of scholarship, rather than "one-for-one" as it is for those participating in the DoD Civilian workforce. If you are interested in the National Guard or Reserves, as a means to meeting program requirements, please indicate this in the application.

During breaks in their academic studies, Information Assurance Scholars will receive progressive, hands-on experience in information security internships. In return, scholars must agree to some restrictions and obligations regarding curriculum, GPA and pre- and post-program employment. If all conditions are met, Information Assurance Scholars will receive full-time conditional/permanent positions in agencies and components of the DoD upon program completion.


Description of Scholarship and Employment Opportunity

The National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 106-398) directed the DoD to establish an Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP). The purposes of the program are to recruit and retain well-qualified personnel for work in the vital information assurance field and to cultivate continuing capacity for information assurance workforce development at select institutions of higher learning (CAE/IAE and CAE-R) throughout the United States. As directed by the Secretary of Defense, the Assistant Secretary of Defense Networks and Information Integration) (OASD-NII) has delegated authority and responsibility to establish scholarship and institutional grant programs to achieve these purposes, including the authority to conduct civilian employee recruitment for these purposes. This program is executed by the National Information Assurance Education and Training Program (NIETP) of the National Security Agency (NSA) on behalf of the Department of Defense.

Rising junior and senior undergraduates, master's and doctoral candidates, and graduate certificate program students who are U.S. citizens and are at least 18 years of age are eligible for consideration for the program. Information assurance scholarships will pay for the full cost of tuition, fees, books, lab expenses, supplies and equipment incurred by students selected for the program. In addition, students selected for the program will be provided a stipend to cover room and board expenses: Undergraduate students will receive a stipend of $14,000, and graduate (master’s and PhD) students will receive a stipend of $19,000 per academic year. Disabled students may receive additional allowances. There are no allowances for dependents. Additional years of scholarship awards are dependent upon satisfactory academic progress, internship performance, if applicable, and the availability of funds. Returning students will be given first priority over new students to the program as long as they continue to meet the IASP requirements and appropriate funding is available. Scholarship recipients who successfully complete the terms of an initial one or two year scholarship (for example, complete an undergraduate degree), may apply for a second scholarship of up to two years for completing an advanced degree or graduate certificate program, if the sponsoring agency agrees.


Appointment and Hiring Authorities

Recipients of information assurance scholarships will participate in experiential learning assignments (called "internships" in the law) at DoD components and agencies while completing their academic degree programs. There are a variety of hiring authorities across DoD and the determination will be by those Agencies in conjunction with the IASP Program Office.

Information Assurance Scholars will be appointed at those General Schedule grade levels for which qualified and selected by DoD component officials. Since the Area of Consideration for scholarship applicants includes rising junior and senior year undergraduates, master’s and doctoral degree candidates, and graduate/doctoral certificate program students, it is anticipated that applicants will (variously) meet minimum qualification standards for Student Trainee appointments at GS-0099-5, GS-0099-7 and GS-0099-9. The Military Departments and DoD components that select and appoint students will decide at what grade levels successful Information Assurance Scholars will be appointed in light of any applicable component-unique factors such as the target occupations or full-performance position levels for the candidates. Obtain information on the general salary schedules for FY11.