Leading Army Reserve cyber talent to Keystone state
By Sgt. Erick YatesJanuary 30, 2020
CORAOPOLIS, Pa. - Shaping the Army Reserve cyber force is still evolving from refining strategy and methodology to delivering proper talent management for the training of new reserve cyber warriors.The U.S. Army Reserve Cyber Protection Brigade (USAR-CPB), 335th Signal Command (Theater), located outside the nation's capital near College Park, Md., is making steady strides in grooming a talented cyber force for its Cyber Protection Centers (CPCs).At the local level, two Soldiers assigned to the North Central Cyber Protection Center (NCCPC), located in Coraopolis, Pa., discussed the opportunities and paths that led them to joining an Army Reserve cyber unit.2nd Lt. Morgan Philie, currently assigned to the NCCPC, said despite the length of time needed for training at this level, she's happy with decisions made leading to this assignment."I'm glad for taking a chance and choosing to be assigned here," Philie said.There were a few assignment options available upon commissioning, but the opportunity at NCCPC seemed a good fit at the time, she shared."I studied computer science in school, and always wanted to pursue a career with the Department of Defense," said Philie, commissioned through the ROTC program at Dartmouth College in 2018.Philie's civilian job with the DoD supported her as she attended the nine-month training required for new cyber officers. That support aided Philie's decision to move forward with career plans, she added."Seeing the growth and opportunities created at NCCPC brings a sense of excitement working together as a team and exploring the next steps forward for training and missions," she said.Philie talked on the extensive training, skills and time required to qualify for a cyber unit. Individuals interested in opportunities within the USAR-CPB should understand, that the standards are the same as the active component. It's a commitment.Sgt. First Class Vernessa Garcia, who has served with the NCCPC since its evolution into a cyber unit, echoes a similar message. The transformation into cyber anchored her desire to stay with the NCCPC.Garcia promoted out of the unit, but when the opportunity surfaced to return to NCCPC, she did."Career advancement and promotion allowed other opportunities, but the cyber opportunities, that became available led me back to NCCPC," Garcia said.Like Philie, Garcia's background in cyber is also extensive. She holds various levels of certificates needed to be qualified in an Army cyber unit and works in the cyber arena as a civilian."I am enthusiastic about where the unit's movement in cyber is heading. To be a part of this new effort in the Army Reserve is a big opportunity," she explained.Education is important. It's because of the education and training presented by the unit and Army cyber programs that increased my interest to be more involved, stated Garcia.Created from the Army Reserve Information Operations Command in October 2016 as the formerly named Army Reserve Cyber Operations Group, the USAR-CPB and the CPCs under the Brigade command, are charged with building its force through readiness and advanced cybersecurity training to perform cyber missions in support of Army Cyber Command.