Can Cyber Geeks Make It Into The Marines and Skip Boot Camp?


By Debbie Gregory.

The Marine Corps is having a hard time getting people with essential IT and information security skill sets as the services struggle to build a force of “cyber-warriors.” In an effort to circumvent this problem, these cyber specialists might be able to skip boot camp altogether.

The proposal, initially proposed last year by then-Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, is one of several ideas being considered to combat concerns about severe cyber warfare readiness.

Carter also suggested the military should consider modifying fitness standards, grooming regulations or rules that make past drug use disqualifying in an effort to make recruiting cyber talent easier.

Marine Corps force planners are discussing the option of “lateral entry” for people with the desired skill sets to join as uniformed Marines.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Robert B. Neller said that having a skilled cyber workforce within the service was critical. “If you don’t have those things, whatever formation you put on the battlefield is not going to be as survivable or combat effective without them.”

The government has tried a number of ways to develop a “cyber-skilled” workforce. Another option would be to treat Marine Forces Cyberspace Command like Marine Corps Special Operations Command, limiting entry to more experienced Marines. Some have even argued for a standalone cyber service, following the same model used to recruit musicians for the Marine Corps Band.

Considering the going pay rate in the civilian world for many information security jobs, the DOD will have to make a significant investment to attract the right people to uniformed service. With that said, offering the prestige of a Marine uniform may be a draw to some young people with high-level cyber skills.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

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.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.