Army looking at direct commissions for civilian cybersecurity experts
WASHINGTON – Civilians with expertise in cybersecurity could be directly commissioned into the Army with a rank up to colonel to help the service improve its expanding cyber domain operations under a Pentagon pilot program authorized in recent weeks.
The program would be similar to the Army’s direct commissioning programs for medical doctors, lawyers and chaplains, which place experts in those fields into the Army at a rank that is commensurate with their experience in the civilian sector, said Army Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost, the service’s cyber director for operations and planning. The Pentagon tasked the Army with the project on Jan. 30.
In June, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the Pentagon would begin looking at broadening its direct commission program to help it attract leaders who have had success in the private sector, especially in fields where the military needs to improve rapidly. Congress has given the Pentagon through 2020 to study the potential of expanding direct commissioning programs.
Cyber is a relatively new sector within the Army. Army Cyber Command was established in 2010, and the service has worked to quickly grow its force. It has had to pull units directly into the cyberspace battle just as quickly as it can train them, Brig. Gen. J.P. McGee, Army Cyber Command’s deputy commander for operations, said Wednesday.
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