FORT BELVOIR, Va. (June 11, 2012) -- The Army's most senior non-commissioned officer made his first visit to U.S. Army Cyber Command and left with a clearer understanding of how the command protects Army computer and electronic networks around the world, and the importance of that mission.
Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler spent four hours at the Army Cyber Command Fort Belvoir headquarters June 7, where he sat through briefings with the command's senior noncommissioned officers who explained how the command executes its cyber mission.
Admitting that he knew little about the command prior to his visit, afterward Chandler said he now fully understands the impact that cyber operations has on the Army, and the difficult job for Soldiers and civilians working behind the scenes protecting Army computer networks.
"Army Cyber Command plays a huge role for our Army but it is equally important for our Soldiers at all levels to practice good cyber security," he said "I was very impressed with the Soldiers and civilians at ARCYBER. They have a tough mission, but they continue to keep our networks safe and secure."
After learning about the persistent threat of cyber attacks on Army computer networks by hackers and terrorist organizations, Chandler said he sees the need for more cyber training for Soldiers at all levels.
"Cyber security is very important. Enemies are constantly trying to penetrate our systems, and it takes the right programs and informed Soldiers to ensure we keep our systems safe," he said. "We have done a great job incorporating this training at our unit and our professional military education and as new threats emerge, we will continue adapting our training for the future.
He was also applauded the command's effort to add new military occupational specialties that deal specifically with network security. Army Cyber will begin recruitment October 1 for a new military occupational specialty, or MOS, the "Cryptologic Network Warfare Specialist," or 35Q. The training will take place at Fort Gordon, Ga. Chandler said he doesn't foresee a problem finding highly-qualified individuals to fill out the ranks of the new MOS.
Chandler also met with Soldiers to share his thoughts on several issues facing the Army, from the drawdown of troops and retention, to confronting hazing and sexual harassment. He was most concerned when talking about the latter topics, telling the group that one incident of sexual harassment and hazing is "one too many in our Army."
"I don't like failing in a mission," he said. "It's counter to what we are."
Chandler noted that in three years since the Army began the Sexual Harassment Assault Prevention Program, the number of cases had slightly increased to 1,701 in 2011 from 1,695 in 2010.
"We got to get at this," Chandler said. He said programs and policies can help some, but that Soldiers also had to play a part. "Unless our NCOs enforce the standards we are not going to get there."
On the issue of hazing, Chandler reminded Soldiers of the case of Pvt. Danny Chen, who committed suicide after an alleged hazing incident by fellow unit Soldiers in Afghanistan. He said hazing is something Soldiers have to be "ruthless in weeding out and eradicating" from happening. He instructed Soldiers to read the Army policy on hazing in Army Regulation 600-20, and told them "If you allow it to take place then you are an accessory to a crime. And hazing is a crime."
Chandler ended his conversation by talking about Army professionalism, and by asking a young sergeant the first line of the NCO creed: "No one is more professional than I" came a response.
He told the group that as professional Soldiers you have to live by your actions, and that the bad acts of a few can bring discredit upon the entire service.
"The American people are counting on all of us, which is why we have to police ourselves and live by the creed that says who we are," he said. "We need to think about what that creed really means, and as NCOs we have to stand up and take control."
Army Cyber Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Blackwood said the visit by Chandler provided context on how Army Cyber contributes to the Army at large.
"The visit to Army Cyber Command, 2nd Army, provided a unique opportunity to show the Sergeant Major of the Army a view of the invaluable work and extraordinary efforts of our Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilian professionals who accomplish cyber related operations for our Army," Blackwood said.