Understanding the 7 elements of DCWF

May 23, 2023 | Content, News

The DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF) is an essential tool for individuals who wish to understand the work that the full spectrum of the cyber workforce performs in the Department of Defense. The DCWF comprises of 7 key elements that describe the roles of the various personnel involved in the DoD’s cybersecurity efforts. Understanding these 7 elements is critical for anyone who wishes to pursue a career in cybersecurity within the DoD. This article will provide an overview of the 7 elements of DCWF and what they entail. For more information on the DCWF, visit https://public.cyber.mil/wid/dcwf/.

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IT (Cyberspace)

This element includes personnel who design, build, configure, operate, and maintain IT, networks, and capabilities. This includes actions to prioritize implement, evaluate, and dispose of IT as well as information resource management; and the management, storage, transmission, and display of data and information. Associated work roles include Database Administrator, Network Operations Specialist, and Systems Developer.

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This element includes personnel who secure, defend, and preserve data, networks, net-centric capabilities, and other designated systems by ensuring appropriate security controls and measures are in place, and taking internal defense actions. Associated work roles include Control Systems Security Specialist, Cyber Defense Analyst, and Security Architect.

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Cyberspace Effects

This element includes personnel who plan, support, and execute cyberspace capabilities where the primary purpose is to externally defend or conduct force projection in or through cyberspace. Associated work roles include Exploitation Analyst, Target Network Analyst, and Warning Analyst.

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Intelligence (Cyberspace)

This element includes personnel who collect, process, analyze, and disseminate information from all sources of intelligence on foreign actors’ cyberspace programs, intentions, capabilities, research and development, and operational activities. Associated work roles include Cyber Intelligence Planner, All-Source Analyst, and Multi-Disciplined Language Analyst.

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Cyberspace Enablers

This element includes personnel who perform work roles to support or facilitate the functions of cyber IT, cybersecurity, cyberspace effects, or intelligence workforce (cyberspace) work roles. Work roles are divided into Acquisition, Leadership, Legal/Law Enforcement, and Training and Education; specific work roles include IT Project Manager, Cyber Policy and Strategy Planner, Cyber Crime Investigator, and Cyber Instructional Curriculum Developer.

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Software Engineering

This element includes personnel who operate at all levels of the software development life cycle. Associated work roles include DevSecOps Specialist, Software Developer, and Software/Cloud Architect.

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This element includes personnel who specialize in AI and ML, and in the data analysis and research associated with these emerging technologies. Associated work roles include AI Adoption Specialist, AI/ML Specialist, and Data Analyst.

The seven elements that make up the DCWF are geared towards creating a comprehensive understanding of the various roles and responsibilities of cybersecurity personnel in the DoD. Each of these elements fulfills a specific task crucial to the overall success of cybersecurity in the DoD. It’s essential to note that the roles overlap and require a level of interdependence to ensure an effective strategy. The DCWF bridges the cybersecurity skills gap and helps to address the unique challenges faced by DoD cybersecurity personnel. As technology continues to advance, the DCWF will continue to evolve, ensuring that its personnel are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to protect the nation’s cyberspace.

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