Army builds team of elite cyber professionals
November 8, 2012
By Tina Miles
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (Nov. 8, 2012) -- Twenty-nine Soldiers in the 781st Military Intelligence Battalion, 780th Military Intelligence Brigade, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command raised their hands and recited the Army Oath of Re-enlistment during a formal ceremony held Oct. 26 at the Pentagon.
The ceremony was led by Lt. Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, commanding general, Army Cyber Command.
While all re-enlistment ceremonies are unique and impactful to the personnel involved and the families and units supporting them, this re-enlistment was noteworthy for the ranks of the Army Cyber community.
Two years after the activation of ARCYBER in October 2012, and one year after the activation of the 780th MI Brigade, the Army established its first cyber specific military occupational specialty -- the Cryptologic Network Warfare Specialist.
Twenty of the re-enlistees were CNWS, committed to continue serving the cyber community.
Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, said in a speech on Oct. 23 to the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference in Washington, D.C., that it takes about five years of training to become one of the Army's best cyber operators. CNWS Soldiers must possess a unique combination of technical computer knowledge, operational capabilities and analytical skills.
"Growing the Army's Computer Network Operations expertise remains an Army priority," Legere wrote in a November 2011 memo as the INSCOM commanding general last year.
Hernandez also addressed the significance of the new MOS as he reflected on the activation of the Army Cyber Command.
"Two years ago I wrote a simple vision," he said. "When I wrote the words 'cyber warrior,' I had you in mind -- a professional team of elite, precise, trusted and disciplined cyber warriors."
In addition, 22 of the 29 Soldiers re-enlisted for the first time. The 29 Soldiers, who range in age from 20 to 40, consisted of 23 males and six females, and 14 noncommissioned officers. The diverse group was made up of many cultural backgrounds including Asian and Hispanic.
Combined, they total 163 years already served and 164 more as a result of the re-enlistment.
Family members from as far as Pennsylvania and Texas attended the ceremony. Two married couples were among the re-enlistees.
While lauding the importance of these new Army "cyber warriors," Hernandez cautioned those in attendance as to why the country needs them in the first place: adversarial threats attacking and infiltrating the networks are real and continue to grow.
"These Soldiers are on the frontline daily," Hernandez said. "People, not technology, out-think and out-maneuver those threats."
Col. Jennifer Buckner, commander, 780th MI Brigade, expressed pride for all Soldiers who rededicated their lives to the Army.
"While it is extremely exciting that so many of the Soldiers re-enlisted as Cryptologic Network Warfare specialists, it must also be noted that the nine Soldiers who re-enlisted in other [military occupational specialties] are also of great value and support to the 780th MI Brigade. They are all cyber warriors."
As Soldiers pledged to continue to serve, standing before the monument to national defense, CNWS Soldiers signify the Army's commitment to defend against threats into the future.
"I could think of no better place for this ceremony -- the Pentagon," Hernandez said. "You are our best. ... You are our nation's strength, today and our future."