In a sign that the intelligence agencies are experiencing the same issues in recruiting and retaining employees in the STEM fields as other agencies are experiencing, a bill (S-133) ready for a Senate vote would allow for higher rates of pay for such positions.

Under the intelligence authorization act as passed by the Senate intelligence committee, employees with expertise in science, technology, engineering, or math could be paid up to 30 percent more than currently, up to level IV of the Executive Schedule (currently $161,900).

The CBO estimated that about 1,700 employees at the outset would receive raises averaging $4,100 and that over several years the number would increase to 2,100 receiving an average boost of $19,100 above the otherwise applicable rate.

The CBO analysis addressed only the publicly available portions of the bill; the size of the intelligence workforce is not disclosed.

It said though that additional employees would be needed for certain counter-intelligence duties and that “on the basis of meeting national security requirements, the hiring of those employees would be exempt from the recently ordered hiring freeze of federal civilian employees.”