Email this Article Email   

CHIPS Articles: Black-hat hackers may have place in Army

Black-hat hackers may have place in Army
By C. Todd Lopez - November 8, 2016
ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service) -- Cyber professionals are often capable of doing much, much more than what the law allows. In their private-sector jobs, they've got to be on the right side of the law if they don't want to end up in a prison cell.

But those same skilled cyber professionals may be able to cut loose, like a no-holds-barred wrestling match, for instance, if they were in the Army. In fact, that particular carrot could be enticement to get some of those professionals to don a uniform, and practice their craft safely inside the Army tent. It may also be enticement to stay on if they're in the Army now, said the Army's vice chief of staff.

"The good news is, for our cyber professionals, they can do things in defense of our nation that they would get arrested for in the outside world," said Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, Nov. 3, 2016, while speaking at a cyber forum at the Association of the U.S. Army headquarters. "That's very attractive to those who are very, very skilled and committed to the security of our country. And for that we are thankful for both their skill, and as importantly, for their desire to continue to serve and protect our country."

The Army is in the midst of growing its cyber force now, of commissioned officers, noncommissioned officers, and warrant officers, to defend the Army network, as well as to apply effects against adversary networks, if need be.

The Army has its own cyber branch now, career field 17, for cyber professionals, and a schoolhouse as well, at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Right now the branch has 397 officers, 141 warrant officers and 560 enlisted Soldiers in its ranks, Allyn said.

"Army is on track fielding our cyber mission force, from 41 teams today, to eventually a full fill of 62 total force teams," Allyn said.

The Army's Cyber School stood up in 2014. This year, 21 officers graduated, and he said next year the Army's on track to beat that.

Also next year, he said, in March, will be the first time enlisted Soldiers will attend Army Advanced Individual Training for cyber. This year they attended a joint course. In March, Army-developed AIT to defend the network begins at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Allyn said he expects initially there will be around 300 Soldiers who will graduate from that course.

Allyn said one concern for the Army is how to attract and retain cyber talent. It's not just Army networks that need to be protected — commercial networks need protection as well. The Army competes with the private sector to attract the best cyber talent, Allyn said, and the Army needs to find a way to make Army cyber attractive.

One way to do that, he said, is through lateral accessions, something done in other career fields in the Army, like medical — where officers can be brought in at a higher rank, and higher pay, as a way to be more competitive with the private sector.

"The ability to laterally access skilled professionals is something we do already in the Army in some of our skills — medical is one that is widely understood," Allyn said. "But we have recognized that this has applicability in specialty fields like cyber. And that is being matured and developed as an option for the chief and the secretary."

Allyn said the possibility of lateral accessions for cyber was something that was considered as part of the Army's "Force of the Future" analysis conducted last year.

"Not only will we have to apply new accessions tools, but we are going to have to also consider how do you retain this incredible talent," he said.

For more information, visit:
Army Research Lab
RDECOM
Army News Service

As the Army grows and develops its own cyber branch, it's looking for ways to both attract the best talent, and to keep that talent on board with the Army, in the face of stiff competition with the private sector job market. Photo Credit: Ms. Peggy Frierson
As the Army grows and develops its own cyber branch, it's looking for ways to both attract the best talent, and to keep that talent on board with the Army, in the face of stiff competition with the private sector job market. Photo Credit: Ms. Peggy Frierson
Related CHIPS Articles
Related DON CIO News
Related DON CIO Policy

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Online ISSN 2154-1779; Print ISSN 1047-9988
Hyperlink Disclaimer