DOD needs cyberwarriors so badly it may let skilled recruits skip boot camp

Enlarge / US Army Cyber Protection Brigade soldiers responding to a simulated cyber attack on the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, during its rotation at the Fort Polk, Louisiana, Joint Readiness Training Center. The military needs more network defenders, as well as people with skills that could be used offensively. (credit: US Army)

The US military is having a hard time getting people with essential information technology and information security skill sets as the services struggle to build a force of “cyber-warriors.” During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today, senators focused in part on how the work force problem is affecting the US Cyber Command’s (US CYBERCOM’s) ability to deal with the demands of information warfare and threats both to the Defense Department’s networks and those of other agencies and industry.

Admiral Michael Rogers, appearing in his capacity as commander of US CYBERCOM (a role he holds as well as that of director of the National Security Agency), told the committee that he was confident that CYBERCOM would meet a 2018 deadline for the command to reach full operational capability. But he acknowledged that there was still a shortage of service members throughout the military required to sustain CYBERCOM long-term.

DOD’s “Cyber Strategy” is based on the creation of a Cyber Mission Force, made up of 133 “cyber mission teams.” Those teams will be spread across national infrastructure defense, DOD network defense, delivering “cyber effects” to combat units, and providing analytics and threat intelligence. But the demand for information technology skills of any kind in the military is so high that some services are even cannibalizing their trained “cyber” workforce just to keep the networks up.

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