ACI Technical Reports


Professionalizing the Army's Cyber Officer Force

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Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Army Cyber Institute


The emergence of cyberspace as an operational domain, accompanied by the Army’s realization that cyber operations are both a critical vulnerability and a massive opportunity, drives the need for an integrated and fully qualified Army cyber officer workforce to meet these challenges and opportunities.1 In this paper, we argue for a revolutionary step forward: the creation of a unified cyber branch that brings together the best from each of the stakeholder communities, fills critical gaps not currently provided by the current stakeholders, and discards vestigial remnants from cold-war era organizations, personnel structures, and human resource management approaches. We seek to design a cyber career path that is best for the Army while setting aside near-term parochial concerns for preservation of the status quo. This objective directly supports other transformational Army initiatives including the proposed formation of a Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Cyber Center of Excellence (CCoE), the Army Cyber Center at West Point, Cyber Mission Forces, and Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER).2 We propose an actionable way forward to realize a professional cyber force by describing current obstacles, exploring multiple options for the creation of such a force, and finally proposing an accession-based branch and officer career progression which covers the entire career of a cyber leader from college undergraduate to post-retirement.

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