The need for world-class cyber warriors

Recruiting and training effective military cyber specialists requires an innovative approach.

"Cyberspace requires a world-class cyber warrior we must develop, recruit and retain in a different way to today,” Lt. Gen. Rhett Hernandez, command of the Army Cyber Command, said at a recent conference in London.

He is not the only one sounding this alarm. We covered it in this December 2011 blog

Military training often leverages pools of information from lessons learned from past military operations and wars. This is a very shallow pool when it comes to cyber conflict. Another source often cited in cyber warfare curriculum is the traditional courseware for information security. Although some areas of these materials can be adapted, cyber warfare and IT security are vastly different and new techniques and tools for waging this new modality of conflict are rapidly being developed. This creates a challenge of keeping up, as does the constant evolution of computer and device technology. So continuing education is a key component in the development of world-class cyber warriors.  

Another critical component is the ongoing, near real-time evaluation and feedback based on the student's experiences in the real-world cyber threat environment. This bring up another challenge: those who we want on the front line for cyber warfare are also those we want as instructors. So we need to draw from the best and brightest in the military, the intelligence community and also  industry. Some even go as far as to suggest that the current human resource model used by the military will have to change.

There is no doubt properly training our cyber warriors will be a challenge, as will be training the officers who lead them.