Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program

Sponsored by the
Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for
Networks and Information Integration (NII)
DoD Chief Information Officer

Deadline for Application: February 15, 2015

Northeastern University Point of Contact:

  • Professor Agnes Chan
  • Associate Dean and Graduate Director
  • College of Computer and Information Science
  • Northeastern University
  • Boston, MA 02115
  • 617-373-2462
  • ahchan@ccs.neu.edu

All applicants applying to the Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) through Northeastern University must be attending or admitted as a full time student at

  • College of Computer and Information Science, majoring in Computer Science, Information Science, combined majors or Information Assurance, or
  • College of Engineering, majoring in ECE, or
  • College of Arts & Sciences, majoring in mathematics.

IASP applications should be submitted directly to the Point of Contact at Northeastern University.

Application Background and Requirements

CONTENTS

1. BACKGROUND

Information assurance (security) is considered so important to our national defense that a formal DoD IASP 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, information technology, and cybersecurity (IA/IT/cybersecurity) 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 scholarship payback through military service. Individuals choosing to enlist or accept a commission to serve on active duty in one of the Military Services shall incur a service obligation of a minimum of 4 years on active duty in that Service upon graduation. The Military Services may establish a service obligation longer than 4 years, depending on the occupational specialty and type of enlistment or commissioning program selected.

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 Components of the DoD upon program completion.

HOW TO APPLY
Note: Students selected must attend full-time.
Pay close attention to the mandatory conditions of Financial assistance and employment.
Check with the identified Point of Contact for Northeastern University to find out what you must do to apply and note the application due date. Fill out and sign the required SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION, provide and sign all supplemental statements that are part of the package. DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION TO THE DOD. Submit your application package directly to the appropriate Point of Contact for your college or university.

2. DESCRIPTION OF SCHOLARSHIP AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

Chapter 112 of title 10, United States Code authorizes the 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 (CAEs) throughout the United States. As directed by the Secretary of Defense, the DoD CIO 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 DoD.

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, select fees, required books, lab expenses, supplies and equipment incurred by students selected for the program. In addition, students selected for the program will be provided a stipend1 to cover room and board expenses: undergraduate students will receive a stipend of $17,000, and graduate (master’s and PhD) students will receive a stipend of $22,000 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.

3. APPOINTMENT AND HIRING AUTHORITIES

Chapter 112, title 10, United States Code anticipates that recipients of information assurance scholarships will participate in experiential learning assignments (called “internships” in the law) at the DoD Components and Agencies while completing their academic degree programs. There are a variety of hiring authorities across DoD and the determination will be made by those Agencies in conjunction with the IASP Program Office.

Information Assurance Scholars will be appointed at those General Schedule grade levels for which they are 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. To obtain information on the general salary schedule, please visit:

https://www.opm.gov/oca/12tables/index.asp
4. MINIMUM

ELIGIBILITY FOR SCHOLARSHIP AND APPOINTMENT

To be eligible for the IASP opportunity described in this announcement, you must meet all of the following minimum requirements:
a. You must be 18 years of age or older.
b. You must be a citizen of the United States at the time of application. Note, if family members are not U.S. Citizens, some DoD Agencies may be unable to process the applicant (student) to the security clearance level required. Every effort will be made to assign eligible students at an Agency without such restrictions.
c. You must be enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) in one of the identified CAE colleges or universities listed in this announcement, or enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) at an institution selected by a CAE as a collaborative partner for these purposes.
d. You must have completed (or by August 2013 will have completed) at a minimum the first two years of an undergraduate degree program and be eligible to (a) begin either the third or fourth year of an undergraduate degree program; (b) begin the first or second year of a master’s degree program; (c) pursue doctoral studies; or (d) complete a graduate certificate program in information assurance.
e. You must be pursuing a course of study and/or have a declared major in one of the scientific, technical or managerial disciplines related to computer and network security, with a concentration in an information assurance function.
For these purposes, the scientific, technical and managerial disciplines related to computer and network security and information assurance are:

i. Biometrics
ii. Business:
1. Management
2. Administration
3. Process Analysis
iii. Computer:
1. Crime Investigations
2. Engineering
3. Forensics
4. Information Science
5. Information Systems
6. Programming
7. Science
8. Systems Analysis
iv. Critical Information Infrastructure Assurance
v. Cyber:
1. Operations
2. Security
3. Policy
vi. Cryptography
vii. Database Administration
viii. Data Management
ix. Digital and Multimedia Forensics
x. Electrical Engineering
xi. Electronics Engineering
i. Information Assurance:
1. Systems and Product Acquisition
2. Training, Education and Management
xii. Information Security (Assurance)
xiii. Information Systems
xiv. Information Technology:
1. Acquisition
2. Program/Project Management

See the web page information below, which provides more information about fulfilling the necessary security requirements. Failure to be able to obtain a security clearance is grounds for dismissal from the DoD IASP. You must be able to obtain the required security clearance for the position selected. You may be required to undergo certain tests, including drug and polygraph tests, to obtain and maintain a clearance. Before you may be awarded a scholarship or hired by DoD, you will be required to complete certain forms to initiate the security clearance process. Some of these forms will require that you reveal extensive information about your background, such as potentially sensitive information about your financial circumstances and any arrests and/or convictions for offenses of any kind. You must agree to all of these conditions of employment and you must complete these forms as a condition of financial assistance and appointment.

  1. Current web pages from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) are provided below. These are provided for your review and consideration in determining whether you will be eligible for a security clearance. They may not be all inclusive, however, it is highly recommended that you review and understand the requirements prior to signing up to participate in the DoD IASP. http://www.dss.mil/index.html

5. ACADEMIC SUFFICIENCY

Northeastern University shall review the application materials, and conduct such verification as may be necessary to establish the following standards of academic sufficiency. The University shall exclude from further evaluation (and provide an endorsement of “Not Recommended” for) any applicant unable to meet the following academic requirements:

  1. The applicant is pursuing a course of study and/or has a declared major in one of the scientific, technical or managerial disciplines related to computer and network security that are enumerated under Section 4.e. above.
  2. As an undergraduate student, the applicant has a 3.2 out of a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) or, as a graduate student, the applicant has a 3.5 GPA out of 4.0, or an analogous rank based on a comparable scale.
  3. The applicant’s demonstrated potential for academic success and fulfillment of degree requirements is substantial. The University shall review the factors enumerated below, and shall exclude from further evaluation and not recommend any candidate unable to achieve a minimum score of 2 points on a 5-point scale. Scale values range from Insufficient Potential (One), Sufficient Potential (Two), Average Potential (Three), High Potential (Four), and Superior Potential (Five). Factors to be considered in arriving at the rating for “demonstrated potential” are:
    • The applicant’s original transcript(s) from all institutions of higher education attended
    • The applicant’s current Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • Academic honors, distinctions and awards
    • Letters of reference

6. KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITY

Northeastern University shall document its evaluation of each applicant meeting administrative and academic sufficiency requirements against the following competencies, using a 5-point scale of values, to assess and report on each of the six competencies below. The rating scale is:

  • No Knowledge or Ability (One)
  • Basic Knowledge or Ability (Two)
  • Intermediate Knowledge or Ability (Three)
  • Advanced Knowledge or Ability (Four)
  • Superior Knowledge or Ability (Five)

Evaluations of the following factors shall be based on the supplemental application material provided by the candidates, letters of reference, and any additional information provided by the applicant in response to Northeastern University’s requests made for this purpose.

  • Knowledge of the techniques of the information technology and/or information security (assurance) discipline, including encryption, access control, physical security, training, threat analysis, and authentication.
  • Knowledge of the human factors in the information technology and/or information security (assurance), including human computer interaction, design, training, sabotage, human error prevention and identification, personal use policies, and monitoring.
  • Ability to identify and analyze problems, distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information to make logical decisions, and provide solutions to individual and organizational problems.
  • Ability to consider and respond appropriately to the needs, feelings, and capabilities of different people in different situations; is tactful, compassionate and sensitive, and treats others with respect.
  • Ability to make clear and convincing oral presentations to individuals or groups; listens effectively and clarifies information as needed, facilitates an open exchange of ideas and fosters an atmosphere of open communication.
  • Ability to express facts and ideas in writing in a clear, convincing and organized manner appropriate to the audience and occasion.

Northeastern University shall also provide in written paragraph form the reason for one of the following recommendations:

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Not Recommended

7. GENERAL INFORMATION

Application Forms and Materials

On the application and the following pages you will find instructions for preparing and submitting an application for the IASP, as well as application forms and materials. Please read all information and instructions for application preparation before you begin. The application itself consists of your resume and all of the OF612 supplements. The OF612 Supplemental Competency Statement and Resume must be included or the package will be deemed non-responsive and will not be considered.

Please be aware that Northeastern University is required by the DoD to participate in the evaluation of your application for scholarship assistance under this program. Northeastern University might constitute a panel to review your application materials or conduct interviews with you or other applicants. Therefore, if you are interested in applying for this opportunity, you should submit your contact information (phone number or email address) where the panel can reach you immediately.

Privacy and Public Burden Statements

The Office of Personnel Management and other federal agencies rate applicants for federal jobs under the authority of sections 1104, 1302, 3301, 3304, 3320, 3361, 3393, and 3394 of title 5 of the United States Code. Section 1104 of Title 5 allows the Office of Personnel Management to authorize other federal agencies to rate applicants for federal jobs. DoD needs the information requested in this vacancy announcement to evaluate your qualifications, that is, to see how well your education and work skills qualify you for a federal job and for tuition assistance pursuant to Chapter 112, title 10, United States Code and the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 5, Chapter 1, Part 213, Subpart C, Section 213.3202(b)(17). Other laws require us to ask about citizenship and military service, to see whether you are affected by laws DoD must follow in deciding whom the Federal Government may employ.

DoD may give information from your records to: training facilities; organizations deciding claims for retirement, insurance, unemployment or health benefits; officials in litigation or administrative regulation; federal agencies for statistical reports and studies; officials of labor organizations recognized by law in connection with representing employees; Federal agencies or other sources requesting information for federal agencies in connection with hiring or retaining, security clearances, security or suitability investigations, classifying job contracting, or issuing licenses, grants, or other benefits; public or private organizations including news media that grant or publicize employee recognition and awards; and the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Office of Special Counsel, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the National Archives, and congressional offices in connection with their official functions.

DoD may also give information from your records to: prospective nonfederal employers concerning tenure of employment, civil service status, length of service, and date and nature of action for separation as shown on personnel action forms of specifically identified individuals; requesting organizations or individuals concerning the home address and other relevant information on those who might have contracted an illness or been exposed to a health hazard; authorized Federal and nonfederal agencies for use in computer matching; spouses or dependent children asking whether an employee has changed from self-and-family to self-only health benefits enrollment; individuals working on a contract, service, grant, cooperative agreement or job for the Federal Government; non-agency members of an agency’s performance or other panel; and agency-appointed representatives of employees concerning information issued to an employee about fitness-for-duty or agency-filed disability retirement procedures.
DoD estimates the public burden for reporting the employment information will vary from 20 to 240 minutes with an average of 40 minutes per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering data, and completing and reviewing the information. You may send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of the collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Reports and Forms Management Officer, Washington, DC 20415-0001.

Veteran’s Preference in Hiring

If you served on active duty in the United States Military and were separated under honorable conditions, you may be eligible for veteran’s preference. For further details visit the Office of Personnel Management website at: http://www.opm.gov/veterans/html/vetguide.asp.

To claim 5-point veterans’ preference, attach a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other proof of eligibility, to your Optional Form 612 – Optional Application for Federal Employment, as required at Item 15 of the application.

To claim 10-point veterans’ preference, attach an SF 15, Application for 10-Point Veterans’ Preference, plus the proof required by that form, to your Optional Form 612 – Optional Application for Federal Employment, as required at Item 15 of the application.

Applicants with Disabilities

You can find out about alternatives for submitting your application by calling the Office of Personnel Management at 912-757-3000. If you have a hearing disability, call TDD 912-744-2299. You may obtain case-by-case assistance by calling the Department of Defense point of contact for this announcement. The name, address, and email address of the point of contact for this announcement are below:

  • DoD IASP Program Office
  • National Security Agency
  • Attn: NIETP, I924, Suite 6722
  • 9800 Savage Road
  • Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-6744
  • AskIASP@nsa.gov

 

Equal Employment Opportunity

The Department of Defense is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified persons shall receive consideration for this opportunity without regard to political, religious, labor organization affiliation or non-affiliation, marital status, race, color, sex, national origin, non-disqualifying physical disability, age, or sexual orientation.
8. OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT WORKING FOR FEDERAL AGENCIES

  • Before being hired, the appointing agency (the specific DoD Agency requesting to hire you) will ask you to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment or other agency or component specific form to determine your suitability for federal employment and to authorize a background investigation of your suitability. The agency will also ask you to sign and certify the accuracy of all the information in your application. If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; you may be fired after you begin work; or you may be fined or jailed.
  • You will be required to obtain and maintain eligibility for a security clearance in order to receive financial (scholarship) assistance or an appointment under the IASP. The appointing agency will ask you to complete certain forms to initiate the security clearance process. These forms require you to reveal many details about your background, including your financial circumstances, and other sensitive matters such as any arrests and/or convictions for offenses of any kind. You must complete these forms as a condition of financial assistance and appointment.
  • If you are a male over age 18 who was born after December 31, 1959, you must have registered with the Selective Service System (or have an exemption) to be eligible for a federal job.
  • Federal law prohibits officials from appointing, promoting, or recommending their relatives.
  • Federal annuitants (military and civilian) may have their salaries or annuities reduced. All employees must pay any valid delinquent debts or the employee’s payroll office may garnish their salary.

9. APPLICATION CONTENT REQUIREMENTS

STUDENTS NOT CURRENTLY IN THE IASP:  An acceptable application package for the IASP consists of the following requirements:

  1. The IASP Student Application completely filled out and signed. (new student application)
  2. Separate sheet highlighting recognitions, honors and awards.You may attach a separate sheet of plain 8 ½” x 11” paper on which you record your responses or the continuations of your responses. On each such page, indicate your name.
  3. Supplemental Academic Sufficiency Statement.You must complete the Statement of Academic Sufficiency supplement to the OF612, to which you must attach the following additional supplemental statements:
    1. Resume
    2. One (1) Letter of Reference from a current faculty member  who is fully knowledgeable of your potential for successful learning, your knowledge, and your ability. See remainder of application package for instructions about the content of this Letter of Reference. Letters must be on University letterhead and contain the full name and contact information of the faculty member (phone, email, and address).
    3. One (1) additional Letter of Reference from either a current or former faculty member, or a current or former supervisor who is fully knowledgeable of your potential for successful learning, your knowledge, and your ability. See remainder of application package for instructions about the content of this Letter of Reference. Letters must be on official letterhead and contain the full name and contact information of the faculty member or current/former supervisor (phone, email, and address).
    4. Official (certified) transcripts from all the institutions of higher learning you have attended. Web printed copies will not be accepted.
    5. Supplemental Competency Statement: Knowledge, Skills and Attributes:You must complete the OF612 Supplemental Competency Statement with narrative responses that describe the level of your attainment of the knowledge and ability factors indicated. See remainder of application package for instructions about the content of this supplemental statement.
    6. Signature of the Supplemental Statement of General Academic and Employment Conditions. If you agree with the all of the academic and employment conditions required for your receipt of scholarship assistance and appointment under the IASP, and wish to be considered for it, you must sign the OF612 Supplemental Statement of General Academic and Employment Conditions, which is the last page of the Attachment D, Student Application.

    CURRENT IASP STUDENTS WHO ARE REAPPLYING:  An acceptable application package for the Information Assurance Scholarship Program consists of the following:

    1. The IASP Student Application completely filled out and signed. (returning student application). By signing the Student Application you are stating that you have re-read section G and H.
    2. One (1) Letter of Referencefrom the current Principal Investigator or key faculty member who is fully knowledgeable of your potential for successful learning, your knowledge, and your ability, based upon this past year of effort.
    3. Official (certified) transcripts from all the institutions of higher learning you have attended SINCE your last submission. You are required to maintain the appropriate grade point average to maintain your status in the program. Web printed copies will not be accepted.
    4. Updated resume to include your summer internship activities.

    Returning students do not need to provide a list of their honors and awards nor do they need to provide the Knowledge, Skills and Attributes.