One of the big hurdles veterans face is translating their military experience to civilian employers after they leave the service.
Now, the Navy has decided to give military training the same weight as commercial certifications in appropriate areas internally in building its cyber security work force. Navy CIO Terry Halvorsen announced the changes in a memo last month.
In an interview with Federal News Radio, Halvorsen cited the example of the competencies covered in CompTIA's A+ certification, much of which is covered in training by the Navy and Marine Corps:
If we have military training that meets the standard-we haven't changed the standard and we are not lowering the standard-but if we have military training that is equivalent to that standard, let's take credit for it and we don't need to pay for the civilian certification on top of that.
The federal government has been struggling to define the required skills and roles for cyber security professionals across its myriad agencies. Cyber skills are in hot demand in the military especially. In an effort to build those skills, the Air Force is creating a cyber career track to allow cyber experts to stay in the field throughout their military careers.
The Navy, too, is building out its cyber work force. The Naval Academy is exploring the prospect of building a brick-and-mortar cyber center on its campus in Annapolis, MD., and working toward a cyber security major, according to HometownAnnapolis.com.
As for the effect of this change in Navy policy, Halvorsen said it will still be up to civilian employers or universities to accept military training in lieu of certifications, but he thinks the prospects are good:
We are very effective at giving the veterans the data that says this is the detailed training they had and here is where it meets up in the civilian world so that they can get college equivalent or technical certifications that may be required in some of the trades. We are adding some of these commercial certifications to that process. As our training changed, we noticed we were included more of that in the basic military training..
Our history is in most cases, when military departments have said this is equivalent training, and they can show the documentation, it is very widely accepted.