Army Reserve launches partnership to attract cyber warriors

The new program enlists universities and businesses in an effort to eliminate the serious shortage of cyber pros.

"This program addresses the Army and Department of Defense need for increased cyber capability by creating a pool of citizen soldiers who combine civilian skills, education and knowledge with military expertise," said Lt. Col. Scott Nelson, the partnership’s program manager for cyber. "It also supports the Army in recruiting and retaining talented Cyber Warriors by providing opportunities for active duty transitioning into the Army Reserve.”

Army cyber

In the latest effort to try to make up the gap between the demand for cyber warriors and the supply, the Army Reserve has entered into a public-private partnership with six universities and about a dozen businesses to recruit, train and retain cyber professionals for the military.

During a signing ceremony on Capitol Hill, Lt. Gen. Jeffery Talley, chief of Army Reserve, cited a recent Government Accountability Office report estimating that government alone needs 40,000 cybersecurity professionals, a number the government is well short of. "The demand for these cyber security professionals and cyber experienced soldiers far outpaces the current inventory," Talley said.  

While the active-duty military services pursue their own plans for beefing up the cyber workforce, the Army Reserve hopes to supplement those efforts with the partnership, which will seek to recruit cybere warriors, connect professional with employers and generate interest at the high school, and even middle school, level.

"The goal of the program is to train and educate Army Reserve soldiers to be elite cybersecurity professionals through classroom work and field experience," Talley said. "Each of these schools have been chosen for their excellence in cyber security research, teaching and their experience in helping the public and private sectors address cyber security issues."

The schools taking part in the program are University of Washington, Norwich University, George Mason University, Drexel University, University of Colorado and University of Texas at San Antonio.

Among the corporate partners are Rackspace U.S., Verizon, Microsoft, Professional Project Services, Chevron Corp. and Calibre Systems. The FBI also is on board.

The Reserve is hoping that the partnership proves to be win-win for its participants: Soldiers get professional training that could help them advance both in the Reserve and the private sector, employers (who also are experiencing a shortage of cyber pros) get more highly skilled employees and can work with the universities to tailor training to their needs, and the universities see greater interest in their programs. Also, of course, the Army gets to fill out its cyber workforce.