The Army Reserve Cyber Operations Group (ARCOG), a newly reflagged brigade-sized cyber unit, was created from the Army Reserve Information Operations Command in October 2016. The ARCOG is in the process of building its force through readiness and advanced cybersecurity training to perform cyber missions in support of the 335th Signal Command and U.S. Army Cyber Command.

Members of a congressional staff delegation recently participated in discussions with ARCOG leaders at its headquarters in Adelphi, Md., about meeting the challenges of making a cybersecurity unit fully operational.

"The goal of the meeting was to gain understanding of how the ARCOG is manned, trained and equipped for demonstrating their contribution to national security," said Lt. Col. Christopher D. L'Heureaux, a representative from the Army House Liaison Division.

"The ARCOG highlighted readiness challenges specific to cyber work -- defined as how quickly they add value to the cyber domain once mobilized. This is a challenge, because each cyber tool and network requires different procedures and certifications to use," L'Heureaux said.

During the discussion, participants learned how the unit is taking measures to resolve roadblocks to mission readiness.

"To speed getting access to networks, the ARCOG has developed training relationships with those they may augment in time of mobilization. This allows them to gain access now and decreases the time needed to certify, gain access to tools, and gain access to the network," said L'Heureaux.

Sgt. Jason Acklin, a cyber warrior from the North Central Cyber Protection Center in Coraopolis, Penn., briefed the delegation on some of the advanced cyber training that is making the ARCOG mission capable.

"It is important to inform congressional delegates and ARCOG entities there are avenues of training Soldiers can take that are both highly effective and mobile," Acklin said. "My hope for this brief today was to effectively communicate the desire as ARCOG entities, the willingness to provide support and show our unique technical expertise to Army Reserve cyber missions."

Col. Michael D. Smith, the ARCOG commander, said the briefing let congressional staffers know the unit is on target in building Army Reserve cyber forces.

"The intent of the briefing was to deliver a message that the ARCOG and the USAR have the civilian-acquired cyber skills to add exponential capability to the total cyber force," he said. "Appropriate funding, adequate number of training seats, phased reserve-friendly modularized course blocks and appropriate stationing locations with the necessary training facilities will accelerate the initial full operating capability of the ARCOG's 10 Cyber Protection Teams."