Small Wars Journal

Senior Military Colleges Aim to Fill Gaps in Cyber Skills for the Defense Department

Senior Military Colleges Aim to Fill Gaps in Cyber Skills for the Defense Department by Rose L. Thayer - Stars & Stripes

Examples of an expanding cyber force within the Defense Department are all around. The Marine Corps established a new specialty field in October to better defend its computer-based systems and the Air Force added 244 new cyber officers in 2018, a nearly 10 percent increase from the previous year.

Increasingly, the military services are focusing on cybersecurity, in part based on information from the Department of Homeland Security citing the potential of a cyberattack exceeding the threat of a physical one.

More so, an internal Pentagon report recently obtained by Bloomberg News detailed the need for a larger, more competent workforce — among other suggestions — as concerns of cyberattacks percolate throughout the U.S. military. The internal report from the Pentagon’s combat testing office warned while the military has made progress in defending against in-house attacks designed to test cyber systems, the improvements were not outpacing the growing capabilities of potential adversaries.

To better prepare for the growing cyber threat, the military needs a workforce capable of preventing, detecting and mitigating attacks, Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, wrote in the report. While it can be challenging to draw competent workers from higher-paying private sector jobs, he suggested the Pentagon increase its employment by better funding the college-to-career pipeline.

The Pentagon should provide funding for a select group of military service academies, private companies, universities and national laboratories “to grow the DoD’s cybersecurity testing workforce and capabilities” while developing automated tools because “hiring more cyber experts will not be enough,” Behler said.

The groundwork for this recommendation is already in place…

Read on.