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2018 Government Innovation Awards

Hacking the challenge of tech talent scarcity

Cyber Direct Commissioning Program
U.S. Army Cyber Command

Like every organization, the military has had to contend with a dearth of in-house cybersecurity talent. The Army Cyber Command’s solution is a direct commissioning program that plucks technical experts from the commercial sector.

The program launched late last year and in May produced the first two direct commissioned officers from a total of 249 applicants. The second set of applicants has already been reviewed, with five individuals entering the program in June. Eventually, officials plan to move officers through the program four times a year.

Direct commissioning programs have long been used to recruit physicians, attorneys and chaplains into the military, so it seemed like a natural tool for targeting another type of talent that is in high demand but unlikely to emerge organically from the Army’s ranks.

After its successful pilot run, Army Cyber Command plans to continue the program with a few changes, including a student loan repayment program that provides up to $65,000 during the officer’s initial three-year term.

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