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Detection Enforcement Officer Pay and Benefits

CBP AMO Detection Enforcement Officer developing intelligence on potential criminal activity using radar

Working as a Detection Enforcement Officer is an exciting and rewarding career. Detection Enforcement Officers enjoy the stability of federal employment and a variety of benefits including competitive pay, paid time off, health/life insurance, career progression and more.



Competitive Pay




Detection Enforcement Officers are competitively rewarded for their time on the job. In addition to a base salary, Detection Enforcement Officers are eligible for more pay benefits.


Sample pay check break down pie chart. 68% salary, 25% overtime, 5% locality, 2% other
  • Salary: Starting salary for Detection Enforcement Officers is GS-11 (step 1) with a non-competitive promotion to GS-12 after one year and the successful completion of training. 
  • Overtime: You must be readily accessible and willing to work scheduled and unscheduled overtime (excess of a 40-hour work week), and will be compensated accordingly.
  • Locality: Detection Enforcement Officers at the Air and Marine Operations Center receive locality pay based on the Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA area. Detection Enforcement Officers at the Caribbean Air and Marine Operations Center receive locality pay based on the rest of U.S. locality.*
Other sources of compensation
  • Premium Pay: You may be eligible for premium pay for working on Sundays, holidays, and night shifts (anytime between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.).
  • Cash Awards: Outstanding performers may receive cash awards as recognition for their superior efforts (if funding permits).

More on Salary: Detection Enforcement Officer is a career ladder position. An employee occupying a position with established career ladder promotion potential, will be promoted on the first pay period after a period of 52 weeks; provided the supervisor has determined the employee demonstrates the ability to perform at the higher grade level, all qualification (training program) and administrative requirements are met, and the employee’s current rating of record is at least fully successful (or equivalent).

For example, you could:

  • Begin as a Detection Enforcement Officer at the Air and Marine Operations Center in December 2019 as a GS-11 and make $70,737 per year.
    • Anticipate promotion in December 2020 to GS-12 (if certification is obtained) and make $84,785 per year
  • Begin as a Detection Enforcement Officer at the Caribbean Air and Marine Operations Center in December 2019 as a GS-11 and make $62,236 per year.
    • Anticipate promotion in December 2020 to GS-12 (if  certification is obtained) and make $74,596 per year


OfficeGradeBase Salary
Air and Marine Operations CenterGS-11
Caribbean Air and Marine Operations CenterGS-11

*Caribbean Air and Marine Operations Center salaries listed above do not include Cost-of-Living Allowances.

Paid Time Off


CBP offers substantial leave benefits and unique training opportunities to reward and reinvest in its employees. Below is a summary of paid time off from the job:

13 to 26 days of annual leave accrued per year (variation based on years in federal service)


10 Federal holidays per year


Military reserve leave


13 days of sick leave accrued per year


Opportunities for paid training and travel


Additional Leave Information: The maximum amount of annual leave that you may carry over into the following year is 30 days (240 hours). There is no limit to the amount of sick leave that you may accrue. For detailed leave accrual information, visit the Benefits webpage.

Disabled Veteran Leave (Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015)

Under the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-75, November 5, 2015), an employee hired on or after November 5, 2016, who is a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs is entitled to up to 104 hours of disabled veteran leave for the purposes of undergoing medical treatment for such disability.

An eligible employee will receive the appropriate amount of disabled veteran leave as of the employee’s “first day of employment,” as defined below. Disabled veteran leave is a one-time benefit provided to an eligible employee. The employee will have a single, continuous 12-month eligibility period, beginning on the “first day of employment” in which to use the leave or it will be forfeited with no opportunity to carry over the leave into subsequent years. An employee may not receive a lump-sum payment for any unused or forfeited leave under any circumstance.

For complete details about the new Disabled Veteran Leave entitlement, see the Disabled Veteran Leave Fact Sheet on OPM’s website.

Career Progression


Being a Detection Enforcement Officer at CBP sets you up for long-term career success and promotion potential. Detection Enforcement Officer is a career ladder position with a Full Performance Level of GS-12.

You compete for positions, and are promoted based on merit, at the GS-13 level and above. Each movement on the career ladder brings a significant pay increase.


Career chart. Entry level to journeyman to supervisory to executive

Entry Level

The Detection Enforcement Officer position starts at GS-11 (step 1).
Upon successful completion of certification training and one-year time-in-grade, DEOs are non-competitively promoted to GS-12.
Serve as first level supervisors (GS-13), directing and assisting a team of entry level and journeymen DEOs. Leadership can be challenging but very rewarding.
Group Supervisor/Operations Director
Supervisory DEOs have the opportunity to compete for Aviation Group Supervisor (GS-14), Program Manager (GS-14), or Operations Director (GS-15) positions.
Because the DEO’s role touches many functions and disciplines of aviation and maritime law enforcement, there are a wide variety of occupations within AMO that the DEO may progress towards; up to and including the SES level.

CBP’s Dedication to Training: CBP is committed to providing first-rate training for new and current employees to ensure staff are proficient in the latest technologies and techniques necessary to fulfill the CBP mission.

Health Insurance


Staff health is of the utmost importance to CBP. Agents are eligible to choose from a variety of premium federal health insurance programs. Programs available include:

Note that you may be eligible to keep your health insurance in retirement and pay the same subsidized premium as you did as an employee. Learn more about the continued health insurance benefits for you and your family in retirement.

Life Insurance


A keystone of financial planning is making sure that your family and loved ones are taken care of financially, even after your death. CBP offers several federal life insurance programs to help you achieve your financial planning goals. Federal Life Insurance Programs available to agents include:

Generous Retirement


Employees that retire from CBP can count on the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) to enjoy life after working. FERS includes the following three streams of income:

1. FERS Basic Annuity under Special Provisions: Detection Enforcement Officers that serve in federal government with at least 20 years of service, are eligible for the generous FERS basic annuity. This guaranteed lifetime pension paid to retirees, is a percentage of your highest average basic pay you earned during any three consecutive years of service. Learn more about FERS basic annuity.

2. Thrift Savings Plan: Similar to a 401(k) plan, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a defined contribution plan designed to give federal employees the same retirement savings-related benefits that workers in the private sector enjoy with 401(k) plans. Should the employee elect to contribute, payments are automatically deducted from each paycheck depending on the amount chosen by employees; and can be transferable if you change employers. An additional benefit to the TSP is the employer matching contributions; up to five percent of your base salary. Learn more about the Thrift Savings Plan.

3. Social Security: You receive social security retirement payments; the benefits of which are transferable when you change employers. Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits.

Additional Benefits


Employees may also be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Tuition Assistance Program (TAP):  The TAP reimburses CBP federal employees for off-duty post-secondary education costs of tuition, fees, and books. Employees may apply for benefits up to $1,500 per course and $4,500 per calendar year for professional certification or for any two- or four-year degree. This includes all degrees – associates, bachelors, masters, doctorates.


Last modified: 
November 24, 2020