Cyber Defense

Army making 'tremendous' progress in cyber

The Army is making progress toward filling out its cyber force, which will contribute to the Defense Department-wide joint force of 133 cyber teams totaling roughly 6,200 personnel.

“The Army is on track to meet its goal to 41 [cyber mission force] teams by this October,” Andrew “A.J.” Forysiak, director of the Capabilities, Implementation, and Modernization Directorate for Army Cyber Command, told an audience at an AFCEA-hosted panel March 31. Forysiak added that 36 teams are at initial operating capability and 10 are at full operational capability, with all expected to reach FOC by October 2016.

The idea is that “by the end of 2016, all the teams will be in place and at initial operating capability. And by the end of 2018, we expect all those teams to be at full operational capability,” Air Force Lt. Gen. James McLaughlin, deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in October.

The overall chief of the cyber force provided a more realistic assessment at RSA this winter, based on the most recent data presented to him. “We’re about half way through that build process right now. We have got to get it finished by September the 30th of 2018, is our goal,” Cyber Command Commander Adm. Michael Rogers said. “When I look at the data—and I review this every quarter, I just looked at the data about two weeks ago—we’re right now postulating that if nothing changes, 93 percent of the force will be delivered on time. So I’ve got to figure out in the next two years how we’re going to get that remaining 7 percent on time. Because the goal is 100 percent of those 6,200 individuals and 133 teams on station, fully trained, ready to operate in a very demanding environment, and to do that by 30 September 2018.”  

All things considered, the Cyber Command has grown quickly, officials said. “We have a new cyber branch. This is the first new Army branch in 30 years and they did it in one year,” Forysiak said. “We just commissioned our first set of Army cyber officers and we’re really encouraged on what they’re bringing … we have new incentives for recruitment, retention, development and new initiatives for training with industry.”

Forysiak described other initiatives and organizations within the Army designed to better posture the force in cyberspace. They include the Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, Ga., which leads the Army’s institutional efforts in cyberspace by developing training, doctrine, integration of cyberspace forces and the Army Cyber Institute at West Point – described by Forysiak as the Army’s think tank for cyber, providing insight, advice, and subject matter expertise and performing outreach into the greater academic, industrial, and governmental cyber communities.

The Army also recently issued a sources sought notice for a non-personnel services contract to provide contract support services to the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, and the Army Training and Doctrine Command Capability Manager for cyber.

Various capabilities the Army outlined under the notice include, “operational, system, and technical Analysts support to TCM Cyber for Cyberspace Operations, Cyber Situational Understanding and EW integration pertaining to critical portions of programmed work within several key capability developments, training and proponent functional areas.” 

The notice also provided a laundry list of personnel to support these efforts, such as program manager, principle/lead cyberspace operations analyst, senior cyberspace operations analyst, cyber persistent training environment analysts, senior cyber security analysts, senior electronic warfare integrator and IT specialist.

Responses for the notice are due April 8.

The Army has been encouraged with its cyber progress in building the brand new force.  Forysiak said “the Army has made tremendous progress in improving its capability in cyberspace over the last two years.” In fact, the force only had two CMF teams in 2013. “That is a tremendous achievement for the Army to move forward with that,” Forysiak said of the 41 teams reaching FOC by October.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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