ADELPHI, Md. -- Recently a group of Soldiers made history here by graduating from the first Cyber Center of Excellence (CCoE), Mobile Training Team (MTT), Cyber Common Technical Core (CCTC) course for the Army Reserve, taught at the Army Research Laboratory.
This historic event was made possible through hard-work and coordination from The National Capital Region Cyber Protection Center (NCRCPC), a unit under the Army Reserve Cyber Operations Group (ARCOG), 335th Signal Command (Theater). The unit worked hand-in-hand with the ARCOG's operations and training team and the CCoE, in order to bring CCTC to Reserve Soldiers interested in Cyber training.
"The NCRCPC led the way with the successful organization and conduct of this course for the Army Reserve," said Col. Michael D. Smith, the ARCOG commander. "This course is the 'Cyber Basic Training' for all Cyber Soldiers entering the Cyber Force for the US Army."
The 10-week-long course covered a variety of information including: fundamentals of scripting, securely and secretly traversing networks, network traffic filtering and manipulation and auditing and logging.
"This graduation is a pretty significant event in the evolution of the Cyber Core," said Col. Kenneth Rector, commandant of the Army Cyber School, who attended the graduation ceremony and spoke to the students about their outstanding achievement. "Those involved in selecting the students for this course did a good job recognizing talent."
One of those talented Soldiers was Sgt. O'Rayon McKnight, who is assigned to the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, and who took the course to seek advanced technical training.
"Anyone interested in taking this course should have a good foundation in the course modules," he said. "I enjoyed it and I'm excited about moving forward and continuing to take more advanced cyber training."
Another of the graduating students was Master Sgt. Ronald Cameau, a security analyst with the NCRCPC, who said the course was challenging, but worth the effort. "This was the most challenging course I've ever taken in my military career," he said. "I feel extremely accomplished completing such an advanced course, as it took a lot of time and effort."
Sgt. Jerrica McCarty, a cyber Soldier with a bachelor's degree in digital forensics, assigned to the NCRCPC, was also in the graduating class and described some of the difficult portions of the course. "The course contained three modules in Microsoft Windows, Linux and Networking," said McCarty. "But learning PowerShell in the Windows module was the most challenging part of the course for me."
"The basis of what the students are learning in the course with PowerShell and Linux is what to do on a computer if a cyber analyst does not have a tool -- tools are what makes it easier to operate in cyber space," said Lt. Col. Michael Lewis, operations officer for the ARCOG, who assisted the NCRCPC with coordinating the course. "In the last week of the course the students learn about cyber methodology and the working roles on a cyber team."
The demanding course challenged not only the students, but also the instructors.
"One of the biggest challenges for me came in the form of the exhausting work hours," said Staff Sgt. Kyle Desjardins, one the lead instructors for the course. "Taking on the start-up tasks for a new educational program made it very demanding, but out of this effort, I feel we developed an excellent relationship between the 335th Signal Command and the Cyber School."
Desjardins concluded by saying that teaching the students was a rewarding experience. "The Students were the best part of this class," he said. "It started out difficult because there was a steep learning curve, but over time, though hard work, dedication, friendship and support, everyone banded together when it counted most."