Army Enticing Cyber Gurus


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.

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Military Connection: DOD Recruits for Cyber Force in Silicon Valley

Cyber Command

By Debbie Gregory.

After the increased cyber activity over the last year, including acts of cyber terrorism, the U.S. Department of Defense has heightened its efforts to become better equipped to fend off cyber threats. But according to the Pentagon, the U.S. is still a long way from having the capabilities and resources needed to repel a massive cyberattack from a major world power or highly advanced cyberterrorists.

The DOD devised a plan to man 133 military cybersecurity teams with three core missions:

  1. To provide cyber support to combatant commanders across the globe.
  2. To operate and defend the DOD’s operation network.
  3. To be responsible for defending the nation’s critical infrastructure and resources.

As of the beginning of April, 2015, approximately 50% of the teams are operational. The department expects to have all of the teams ready to go by October, 2016.

In order to remedy their shortcomings and add manpower, the DOD is looking into unconventional methods for attracting tech experts into the department. One way that the department is doing this is by a full-scale recruitment campaign in Silicon Valley. The Pentagon is looking for ways to harness the brilliant minds, expertise, and innovations that the region is producing by offering cyber specialists positions in the National Guard, Reserves, and also in non-military roles within the DOD.

“We’re thinking about ways we can get new pipelines or tunnels of talent into the department from non-traditional places,” said Eric Rosenbach, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security.

One of the biggest challenges that the Defense Department faces is maintaining the level of training that is needed for the task of cyber defense. This task requires that they stay on top of the constantly changing technologies, how to use them, and how to prevent others from using them against us. This requires persistent training and constant personnel certification and recertification.

Seeking help and manpower from the source of the country’s tech community is a brilliant strategy. There are many Americans in and near Silicon Valley that have brains for science and innovation, but also possess the hearts of patriots and a love for their country. With the right incentives and opportunities in place, these tech experts could be manning our cyber defenses, and innovating our nation’s cybersecurity program into the world’s leading cyber force.

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Military Connection: DOD Recruits for Cyber Force in Silicon Valley: By Debbie Gregory