Military Builds Out Cyber Forces

Susan Hall

In the news of a potential cyber attack, it's hard to know how much is hysteria and how much is prudent planning. Let's just hope the hysteria leads to prudent planning.

The federal government has been building up its cyber work force, though budget cuts make it tough to add the staff it needs — especially when it's competing with the private sector for a small talent pool.

The military, though, is creating its own, with each branch building out its own cyber units composed of thousands of troops, civilian personnel and contractors, according to Those specialists would then coordinate with Cyber Command headquarters in Maryland on executing operations around the world. One big selling point: Much of this cyber work will remain stateside.

As it has with previous initiatives — the story points to the Defense Department’s outer space and Navy cruise missile missions — the Pentagon will come up with incentives to staff these key roles, the story says.

It quotes Dale Meyerrose, the intelligence community’s former chief information officer, saying:

I don’t see any of this as being new. ... You just have to figure out where the variances are from previous patterns that we use.

Bonuses similar to those offered to pilots or nuclear officers are among the possible incentives, as well as opportunities for advanced degrees and education. In the Navy, for instance, nuclear officers can get as much as $30,000 at sign-up, and commissioned nuclear officers can earn up to $22,000 extra per year. Military aviators can earn $125 to $840 a month extra, depending on years of service.

The value of the cyber training offered in the military should be a big lure. Even if workers decide to leave the military, their experience should find a ready market in the private sector.

And with a generation raised on video games and "NCIS," the prospect of practicing the real thing no doubt would seem like a bonus.

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