Cyber Workforce: Critical to Defending the Navy in Cyberspace

By the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare

“As the greatest potential source of cybersecurity
vulnerabilities, the workforce level of knowledge, training and daily action
will either contribute to safe operations or present opportunities for
adversaries to exploit. “  SECNAV Cyber Readiness Review, 2019

To prevail in cyberspace against determined, well-resourced,
and highly skilled adversaries, the Navy must attract, train, and retain a
counterbalancing force of cybersecurity professionals capable of defending our
data, systems, and networks. Others have come to the same conclusion –
recruiting, developing, and managing cyber workforce talent are key themes in
every Federal and Department of Defense (DOD) cybersecurity policy.

Cybersecurity personnel are in high demand. To attract
qualified candidates, DOD and the Navy have either begun or expanded existing
initiatives to recruit, train and retain the cyber workforce.

  • Congress and DOD have approved direct hiring of government
    civilian cyber personnel and authorized special pay for them. Fleet Forces Command
    is in the second phase of implementing this new personnel system, called the
    Cyber Excepted Service.
  • The DOD Chief Information Officer (CIO) offers
    cyber recruitment scholarships for college students and retention scholarships
    for DOD Federal employees and military members. These incentives are available
    for current and prospective Navy personnel.
  • The Federal CIO’s Council has finished training
    two groups of students at the Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy, which
    develops the next generation of cybersecurity talent from those already filling
    other civilian roles in government.  The
    Council is now evaluating results from these two groups to further refine the
    Reskilling Academy curriculum.    

To identify possible skill gaps, the Navy is coding its
military and civilian cyber billets by work role and required proficiency
level. This is a daunting task – there are 54 work roles, 3 levels of
proficiency for each role, and more than 36 thousand personnel filling cyber
positions – but the Navy will complete the coding quickly and correctly to
ensure it has the right numbers and types of people to defend itself in

170803-N-JN784-021 CORAL SEA (August 3, 2017) Quarter Master 3rd Class Sharon Stone, from Pittsburgh, Pa., checks coordinates on a computer in the bridge of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) during a replenishment-at-sea. Ashland is on patrol in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance partnerships and be a ready-response force for any type of contingency (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Alexandra Seeley/Released)

The Navy is partnering with DOD to formalize the training,
education and/or certifications required for each role. The Navy has mapped its
schoolhouse training to the 54 roles, and DOD has begun mapping commercial
certifications to them as well. When finalized, the DOD roles qualification
matrix will be a valuable tool for the Cyber Workforce to assess their
suitability for a role and identify a path for career development.

Leaders, supervisors and members of the Cyber Workforce are
encouraged to take advantage of the available programs, authorizations and

The critical importance of a ready cyber workforce is well recognized
and the Navy is taking steps to close readiness gaps because a fully manned,
well trained, and highly proficient Cyber Workforce increases our warfighting
capability by reducing cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

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