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CHIPS Articles: Thesis Paper Review – Gaining the Initiative in Cyberspace: Why the DoD Needs a Cyber Military Branch

Thesis Paper Review – Gaining the Initiative in Cyberspace: Why the DoD Needs a Cyber Military Branch
By DON Innovation - April-June 2017
Over the last 15 years, cyber-attacks on both civilian and military organizations have increased exponentially. In 2009, in an attempt to prevent such attacks, then Defense Secretary Robert Gates established the U.S. Cyber Command with the mission to deter or defeat strategic threats to U.S. interests and infrastructure. Since that time, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) has worked diligently to fill its 133 cyber mission teams with the most qualified cyber operators.

Originally, U.S. Cyber Command was modeled after U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), in that each service retained their own cyber capabilities, with a single joint commander to coordinate and focus the cyber warfare mission. The contrasting current model, US Cyber Command, is not set up to effectively conduct either offensive or defensive cyberspace operations and, as a result, many observers believe that the United States is losing the cyber war.

To gain the initiative in the cyber domain, the United States should create a new cyber military branch: the U.S. Cyber Corps, specifically focused on cyberspace operations. The creation of a Cyber Corps would not only create a cadre of qualified cyber warriors but also create a Chief of Staff of the Cyber Corps who would serve as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This would improve the command relationship with DoD, create a common initial training pipeline for cyber operators, and enable cyber operators to better maintain their operational capabilities in order to establish the United States as the dominant cyber force in the world.


This paper was submitted in fulfillment of the Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS) Argumentative Research Paper requirement. This paper was selected as one of the best in the EWS class and was submitted to U.S. Naval Institute for consideration for the "The U.S. Naval Institute General James N. Mattis Professional Writing Award."

Read the thesis paper in its entirety here.

Marine Corps Capt. Paul E. Baker was recognized with honorable mention for the 2016 Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Innovation Award in the Professional Military Education category.

The SECNAV Innovation Awards recognize the top innovators within the Department of the Navy (DON). Their accomplishments are remarkable and serve as inspiration for the Navy and Marine Corps to think boldly and solve the fleet and force’s most challenging problems.

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Marine Corps Capt. Paul E. Baker (Official Photo)
Marine Corps Capt. Paul E. Baker (Official Photo)
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