Pentagon To Recruit Thousands For Cybersecurity Reserve Force

The 39th Information Operation Squadron conducts a Network War Bridge Course, on Sept. 19, 2014.

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal Ardrey

AA Font size + Print

The 39th Information Operation Squadron conducts a Network War Bridge Course, on Sept. 19, 2014.

Military leaders want private sector and National Guard cyber professionals at the ready in case of a national network emergency.

The Pentagon is prepared to draft thousands of private sector and National Guard cyber pros in the event of a network emergency affecting American lives, a top U.S. military official said Tuesday.

The “surge forces” will be trained by the Defense Department and help defend the energy sector, telecommunications and other so-called critical infrastructure, Defense Principal Cyber Adviser Eric Rosenbach said in remarks prepared for a Senate Armed Forces subcommittee hearing.

“Up to 2,000 Reserve and National Guard personnel will also support the Cyber Mission Force,” which is part of the department’s offensive and defensive Cyber Command, he added.

The Pentagon is bringing in security reinforcements, as it contends with a cyber workforce shortage and growing Internet threat.

Each military service “has developed reserve component integration strategies” that harness active duty cyber know-how “and leverage the Reserve and National Guard strengths from the private sector,” Rosenbach said in his written testimony for Tuesday’s hearing.

Military and civilian agencies currently are competing with the private sector for scarce cyber talent. Lawmakers and advisory councils have long recommended the federal government institute a civilian cyber militia to aid agencies during crises.

On Monday, the Partnership for Public Service issued a similar call to arms.

The federal workforce advocacy group urged the government to establish a civilian Cyber Reserve Training Corps, modeled on the military’s ROTC program, to provide education and workforce development.

More than 100 foreign intelligence agencies “continually attempt” to infiltrate U.S. military networks “some incursions — by both state and nonstate entities — have succeeded,” Rosenbach said.

Defense also is finalizing a new defensewide cyber strategy that builds upon the first-ever strategy released in 2011, he said.

DOD, as a whole, is looking to hire 3,000 cyber whizzes by Dec. 31. Cyber Command is slated to be at full capacity in fiscal 2018, with 6,200 military and civilian personnel. The force is currently about half-staffed.

The department is talking to industry members about incentives and career pathways to bring more cyber expertise into the military, Rosenbach testified.

He singled out North Korea’s alleged attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment as an example of how threat actors are targeting American companies.

Calling the incident, “the most destructive cyberattack against the United States to date,” he accused North Korea of destroying systems and exposing sensitive data. Rosenbach also asserted the country “threatened physical violence in retaliation for releasing a film of which the regime disapproves.”

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • Military Readiness: Ensuring Readiness with Analytic Insight

    To determine military readiness, decision makers in defense organizations must develop an understanding of complex inter-relationships among readiness variables. For example, how will an anticipated change in a readiness input really impact readiness at the unit level and, equally important, how will it impact readiness outside of the unit? Learn how to form a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of readiness and make decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.