Cyber Defense

Army HR command sets up cyber branch

Part of the Army’s expanded focus on cyber defense includes training and retaining uniformed operators. The service’s Human Resources Command is establishing that career path, having just created a provisional Cyber Branch to provide career management, development and readiness.

The purpose of the Cyber Electromagnetic Branch, or CEM, is to identify soldiers with cyber skills and give them a “focal point” for career management, the Armysaid. And as its name suggests, the new branch will focus not just on cyber defense and security, but also on the electromagnetic spectrum.

"While there are a significant number of decisions yet to be made on the future of the Army cyber force, we must establish an element dedicated to the assignment and career management of cyber Soldiers," said Col. Robert E. Duke, chief of Operations Support Division within HRC’s Officer Personnel Management Directorate. "We will retain enough flexibility in our approach at HRC to adjust to changes as cyber proponency matures, and [as] this force evolves to meet mission require.”

In at least one respect, the branch will differ from other career management branches, which traditionally separate officers and enlisted personnel. CEM will manage all cyber personnel together, the better to support a small, highly skilled unit, the Amy said.

Like the other military services and the overarching U.S. Cyber Command, the Army is expanding its cyber operations and adding personnel. And with skilled cyber operators in short supply, even in the commercial sector, the services are looking to identify, train and retain operators from within, something that the Army said will take time. Creating an HR branch for cyber operators is expected to improve the Army’s chanced of meeting its needs.

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