FORT GORDON, Ga. - The network is under attack! Cyber attacks are a daily reality and are growing in sophistication and complexity. How does the Army keep pace with this evolving threat and defend its network?
Fifteen Soldiers made history when they were awarded the newest Army military occupational specialty, 25D, cyber network defender, during a graduation ceremony Nov. 27, held in Alexander Hall at Fort Gordon, Ga.
Soldiers completed a 14-week course, considered rigorous for its curriculum, to learn the skills needed to meet the demand for cyber warfare.
"Cyberspace is composed of hundreds of thousands interconnecting computers, servers, routers, switches, fiber optic cables which allow our critical infrastructure to work," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald S. Pflieger, regimental sergeant major for the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, guest speaker for the first-ever graduating class for the Cyber Network Defender course. "A functional and healthy cyberspace is essential to our economy and national security."
"With the need for educated individuals to defend our network, so does the need to engage cyberspace," Pflieger said.
Through the establishment of the new cyber network defender, 25D military occupational specialty, known as an MOS, there were changes made to the classification and structure among the 25 career management field series for communications and information systems operation with other MOS revisions of information technology specialist, 25B; radio operator-maintainer, 25C; and telecommunications operator chief, 25W.
Significant changes to the 25 career management field identify the positions and personnel to perform duties with cyber network defense, and selected functions for cyber network defender MOS positions transferred from previous MOS positions associated with cyber network defense.
Major duties a cyber network defender will perform include protecting, monitoring, detecting, analyzing, and responding to unauthorized cyberspace domain actions; deployment and administration of computer network defense infrastructures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems and more. Soldiers are also tasked to take action to modify information systems, computer network configurations in regard to computer network threats and collect data to analyze events and warn of attacks. Cyber network defenders will be trained to perform assessments of threats and vulnerabilities within the network environment, conduct network damage assessments, and develop response actions.
Increases in cyberspace operations training continue in key Army leader education programs.
"A gap was identified within the non-commissioned officers' career field," Pflieger said. "The next step was to identify the right Soldiers."
Staff sergeants interested in becoming a cyber network defender must meet the requirements, such as having a minimum of four years information technology experience, an Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery of 105 in both General Technical and Skilled Technical scores. They must be a U.S. citizen, complete an in-service screening, and have a recommendation from their battalion or higher.