A "handful" of newly minted cyber specialists will go to the Coast Guard’s Cyber Command headquarters for their initial assignment, the service's chief told Congress last week.
The Coast Guard will welcome its first cyber graduates from its academy this week.
The Coast Guard’s outgoing commandant, Adm. Karl Schultz told House lawmakers the United States Coast Guard Academy’s first graduates with a cybersecurity major will emerge following commencement that’s scheduled for May 18.
After that, "a handful" will go to the Coast Guard’s Cyber Command headquarters for their initial assignment before heading to the field after a couple of years, Schultz told the House House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security during a budget hearing on May 12.
"We'll get them some cyber exposure. We'll send them out to some of our sector commands, where they'll sort of bring their knowledge, their programmatic expertise to the field," Schultz said. "We will send the balance of those young Coast Guard cyber professionals, some will go to sea, some will go to sectors, maybe go into cyber, they're next tour. So, they're excited about that."
The military service created a new cyber mission specialist rating and cyber chief warrant officer specialty earlier this year so that enlisted members could pursue a career track in cyberspace operations.
Schultz said the goal with the cyber mission specialist enlisted rating is to take existing guardsmen who have reached the rank of E-5 in other ratings but want to become cyber professionals.
Cyber workforce investment can cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, we want to make those investments judiciously," he said, by plucking individuals in related technical fields such as electronic technicians, intelligence specialists, and IT professionals.
The Coast Guard, which has been putting more emphasis on cybersecurity with an updated strategy and direct commissioning of cyber personnel, is also planning to build out a third cyber protection team as part of its 2023 budget plans, Schultz said.
Schultz will be succeeded by Adm. Linda Fagan, who was recently confirmed as the first woman to lead the Coast Guard.