NEWS | Feb. 12, 2015

Shaping the Army’s Cyber Operations Force: the Human Dimension

By Col. Greg Conti, Lt. Col. David Raymond, Maj. Rob Harrison, Maj. Todd Arnold

By declaring cyberspace an operational domain, the Department of Defense (DoD) acknowledged the criticality for successfully projecting combat power in the domain, and therefore directed all services to create a component command subordinate to U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM).Since the declaration of this entirely new operational domain, the Army has faced significant challenges such as determining the force structure requirements, capabilities, and the skills required of its cyberspace operators. In order to build a force capable of operating in cyberspace, the Army must determine how to recruit, assess, train, and retain those with the required talent. However, the Army is not the only organization seeking individuals with the ability to operate in cyberspace and it is widely recognized that there is a small talent pool from which to recruit. According to a recent Rand Institute Report, there already exists a shortage of qualified personnel in general, and that problem is exacerbated within the federal government. Such a dearth of talent potentially undermines the nation’s security in cyberspace.

Despite this difficult recruiting environment and the heated competition for such talent, the Army needs to attract enough talented personnel to meet mission requirements. The Army also needs to realign skilled personnel who are already serving in different occupational specialties. Particularly now with the creation of a Cyber branch, the Army must man this branch with the right people in the right roles to achieve operational functionality as quickly as possible. In this article we will explore the fundamental skills needed, roles to be filled, and leadership attributes desirable for the Army’s cyber force.