Army Cyber Warrior

Cyber Defense

Select soldiers can now apply to become cyber experts

The Army Intelligence Development Program–Cyber (AIDP-C) just celebrated its first graduate. After two years of immersion in cyber-related operations at the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, Capt. Joseph Casey of the 781st Military Intelligence Battalion is ready to join the ranks of the new generation of cyber warriors.

Officers from the Army Military Intelligence (MI) Branch are eligible to apply for the AIDP–C internship. From those applicants, the MI Branch will select two per year to participate, according to the Army press release.

“It is important that we have officers that understand the cyber environment and are able to leverage our technologies and our capabilities against the adversary,” said Capt. Casey.

AIDP-C interns are given the opportunity to work on operational assignments in as many as four work centers between the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), the Army stated. The soldiers take training courses at the National Cryptologic School and the Department of Defense and can even train to become Network+ and Security+ certified.

The interns can also train to be Certified Ethical Hackers (CEH). According to the EC-Council, a commercial CEH certification provider, the CEH program is designed to teach participants to recognize network vulnerabilities and hacking opportunities in order to preempt malicious attacks.

The NSA cyber division focuses on signal intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance, two aspects of cyber security that are particularly relevant to soldiers fighting in the electromagnetic spectrum as well as the battlefield. SIGINT focuses on intercepting an adversary’s electromagnetic signals in order to gain insight into their movement and communications, according to the NSA.

Information assurance is the “insider threat,” according to Maj. Gen John B. Morrison, Jr. Commanding General of the Army Cyber Center of Excellence. It includes ensuring that force networks are not susceptible to hacks or leaks.

The AIDP-C internship is beginning just as the “cyber soldier” initiative of U.S. Army Cyber Command is coming to fruition. The “cyber soldiers” are members of the 780th MI Brigade, the same brigade from which AIDP-C interns are selected. Members of the 780th MI Brigade integrate with other brigade combat teams and work to provide network defense and cyber operational capability, according to an Army press release.

“The future of multi-domain battle demands we build our capacity to conduct expeditionary cyber warfare in all phases of operational planning,” said Lt. Col. Justin Considine, Commander of the 781st Battalion, Ft. Meade, Md.

With about six to eight months spent on each AIDP-C assignment, the internship is designed to give soldiers exposure to cyber on a broad operational level. Capt. Casey was able to work with the New York FB field office Cyber Division, according to Col. Dave Branch, Commander of the 780th MI Brigade.

"Coming into the program, I didn't have a lot of cyber background…now, I feel confident that I could go into any cyber or intelligence role and bring this skill set to the fight, said Capt. Casey.

About the Author

Katherine Owens is a freelance reporter for Defense Systems

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