August 21, 2019

Every Marine a Blue-Haired Quasi-Rifleperson?

By Emma Moore and Nina Kollars

All the U.S. military services suffer a shortage of competent and experienced cyber talent. But with a tiny pool of eligible candidates willing to do work for the Department of Defense, hiring programs need to rely on more than just patriotism to be successful. The most recent attempt to shore up cyber capabilities comes from the Marine Corps’ announcement that it will create a Cyber Auxiliary. Here too, this program runs aground by asking for too much and offering too little. The Cyber Auxiliary seeks volunteers willing to provide the “training, education, advising, and mentorship” needed within the Marine Corps, and to provide hands-on instruction in simulated environments.

The Marine Corps is feeling the pressure for real-world skills and training to defend its systems and to conduct offensive operations under conditions of competition as well as combat — especially as it continues to put flesh on its future warfare concepts, specifically its expeditionary access basing operations concepts in the joint fight. Whether those capabilities are provided by Cyber Command, or are organic to the force itself, the capability to integrate with cyber warriors and defend systems — particularly for expeditionary basing — matters. In theory, this is what the Cyber Auxiliary will do: guide and train the Marine Corps in supporting, conducting, and facilitating those operations. The details, though, as with many things in cyber, are scant.

Read the full op-ed in War on the Rocks.

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