Building a Cyber Workforce

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Cyberspace, the newest DOD operational domain, grows more complex and contested by the day. As Soldiers learn how to do battle within this new domain, the cyber frontier is also challenging the Army acquisition and requirements communities to successfully equip and train our cyber forces.

The need to assure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information is not new, and today’s military systems are protected through patch management, authentication, encryption, host-based security processes and more. But under the traditional approach to acquiring weapon systems, the Army in the past treated cybersecurity as a support effort or service for an existing capability. As cyber now takes on a new role – viewed as a warfighting capability for use in the digital battlefield – the Army is not only cyber-hardening existing systems, but also developing the integrated requirements to deliver a new set of solutions.

According to a 2014 cyber industry survey from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, nearly two-thirds of entry level cybersecurity positions require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, and almost 50 percent of employers expect applicants to have some sort of certification prior to hiring. As the need for cyber defenses continues to rise, so does the importance of proper training and certification. In response to this need, APG is spearheading education efforts to address the workforce in cyber. By forging partnerships with local universities, APG now offers its employees opportunities to complete certificate training, advanced education and rotational assignments.

For example, the University Center in Aberdeen offers APG civilians, contractors and military personnel a continued education and understanding of cybersecurity. A certificate program, the Cyber Development Program, from the honors school at the University of Maryland Baltimore County Training Center is one of two choices that are currently offered at University Center. APG cyber professionals also can earn a graduate level certificate in the Fundamentals of Cyber Security from the University of Delaware, which includes classes on Introduction to Cybersecurity, Systems Hardening and Protection, and Advanced Cyber Security. These cyber education initiatives were developed to create advanced Army cyber professionals who are forward thinkers and can adapt to the fast paced, ever changing landscape of cyber warfare.
In addition, ten organizations within Team APG Cyber are initiating an annual “cyber cohort” program for twenty high performing workforce members (two per organization) to further accelerate the development of our best and brightest employees. The twenty cohort participants will enter into a three-legged program intended to broaden and deepen their cyber skillset. The first leg of the program will be twelve month developmental assignments into other cybersecurity roles within Team APG. The second leg of the program will be group classroom and hands on exercise courses on a wide range of cyber skills topics, such as information assurance, ethical hacking and penetration testing. The final leg of the program will be site visits to a multitude of cyber centers both within APG and the broader DOD and Federal community to provide practical insights into on-the-job applications of cybersecurity skills.
Team APG is working on creating a Careers page that will highlight all of the opportunities for employment aboard Aberdeen Proving Ground.  Once that page is finalized and meets Public Affairs approval, we will be including a link right here.  Please check back soon for access to over 600 cyber opportunities that are available right here at Aberdeen Proving Ground!
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