By Debbie Gregory.
The Army is in the midst of growing its cyber force of commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, and warrant officers. And the good news for potential officers is that they can better use their skills above and beyond what they could do as civilians.
Cyber professionals are often bound by what the law allows in their private-sector jobs. But those same skilled cyber professionals may be able to cut loose if they were in the military. In fact, that potential for greater freedom in cyberspace might entice some of those professionals to enlist. It may also serve as an enticement for cyber professionals who are already serving in the Army to stay in the Army, the Army’s vice chief of staff said.
The Army currently has 397 officers, 141 warrant officers and 560 enlisted Soldiers in its ranks, and is on track to increase the current 41 teams to a total of 62 teams.
In March 2017, enlisted Soldiers will for the first time attend Army Advanced Individual Training for cyber. Also in March, Army-developed AIT to defend the network will begin at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Some 300 Soldiers are expected to graduate from that course.
Attracting and retaining cyber talent remains a concern for the Army. Digital ROTC would be one way for the Defense Department to compete with the private sector for cyber talent. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has been working on ways to bring Silicon Valley expertise and new ways of addressing complex problems to the military.
It’s not just Army networks that need to be protected — commercial networks require protection as well — and the Army must compete with the private sector to attract the best cyber talent.