Marines who enlist for jobs in cyber and crypto operations will get a $15,000 signing bonus — triple the bonus announced in fall 2022.

A slate of bonuses announced in October 2022 had promised $5,000 as the cyber and crypto enlistment bonus, less than the enlistment bonuses for electronics maintenance ($8,000), chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense ($7,000), or music ($6,000).

But the Marine administrative message from October 2022 noted that the amounts could be tweaked “as recruiting environment conditions require.”

Now, Marines enlisting into cyber and crypto operations jobs in fiscal year 2023 will receive the heftiest enlistment bonus for any job in the Corps, once they complete training and receive their primary military occupational specialties, according to a June 26 Marine news release.

The military occupational specialties eligible for the bonus are cyberspace warfare operator (1721), communications intelligence/electronic warfare operator (2621), electronic intelligence/electronic warfare analyst (2631), cryptologic language analyst (2641) and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance systems engineer (2651), according to the October 2022 administrative message and the Corps’ index of specialties.

With cyberspace a more important domain of warfare than ever, the service has said it needs Marines who can defend against cyber attacks and launch some of their own.

The Marine Corps has acknowledged that it’s having trouble finding enough people to fill its cyber slots. That is one of the reasons for the Corps’ talent management initiatives, which are aimed at building a more seasoned, technologically capable force.

The Marine Corps, along with the other military services, is competing for cyber talent with the civilian sector, which often offers higher salaries, a 2022 Government Accountability Office report noted.

In fiscal year 2022, approximately 1,200 Marine recruits enlisted for the cyber jobs in question, according to Marine spokesman Maj. Jordan Cochran. The enlistment bonus that year for those jobs was $2,000.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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