On the off chance you have been living in a cave recently, cyber has become kind of a big thing in the military lately. Attacks on both civilian and government systems (Sony, Target, OPM, and the Joint Staff just to name a few) have put the idea of cyber threats on everyone’s mind. The Army has been in the process of standing up its new Cyber Corps for a little while now. Starting with the creation of the 17A MOS for regular officers, and followed by the recently completed its first round of Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program (VTIP) for the warrants working to start to fill the 170A warrant officer slots, and finishing out the processes with the initial fill of Soldiers who are becoming 17C.
For the warrants, two important things have happened in the last couple of weeks. As I said, we just completed the first VTIP which was focused primarily on grabbing 35 series (Intel) and 25 series (Signal) warrants who are currently working on cyber mission teams and make them the new 170A (Cyber Operations Technician) MOS.
Some quick unofficial stats about the board. 230 people turned in their packets with 66 of them being selected (29% selection rate). Of those, 102 of the submitted packets were from signal warrants with 37 (36%) being selected. The short of it is, if you weren’t currently working on a cyber position, you probably weren’t going to get selected. I personally submitted my packet and was unfortunately denied although now that I am working on a CPT, it is my hope that when they do round two of the VTIP (date still TBD) that I will have a much better chance. One other quick note about these numbers, they do not include anyone what was part of the still waiting to be released warrant officer promotion board. Once the board results have been finalized for them, they will get selected/denied for reclass.
170A WOCS Packets
The other thing that just happened in the last day or two is that USAREC released the prerequisites so that NCOs could be assessed into the warrant officer Corps as 170As instead of signal or MI guys. While the site doesn’t list the 170A MOS on the board schedule, I have been told that the Jan 2016 board will be the first one to look at it. Again, looking at the prerequisites, it looks like unless you are totally hot shit, this is focused almost entirely on NCOs that are already working within the cyber mission force. The prerequisites are:
- Be at least a SGT (E5) or above.
- Must have successfully completed Advance Leadership Course (ALC) Phase 1 or SSD-2.
- Currently hold (or obtain) an adjudicated TS/SCI security clearance.
- Hold a current IAT / IAM Level 2 certification (Security+, etc)
- TABE – Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), complete battery, level A 9/10. Complete test (not survey) with all categories. Scores required are Reading, Total Math, and Language at the 12th grade level (12.9+). Applicants with an AA/S, BA/S or Master’s degree meet this requirement and do not require the TABE.
- Four years of documented practical experience in Cyberspace Operations; must have been certified at the Apprentice level for a Cyber Mission Force work role; and must have experience in a minimum of one other.
- Practical experience may be documented through NCO evaluation reports and award citations. In some instances practical experience acquired from civilian employment may be acceptable provided the experience can be documented by employee evaluations or performance appraisals and determined to be equivalent to military experience.
- A minimum of 36 months of rated time documented in NCOERs.
- This is the minimum prerequisite; all NCOERs must be submitted for consideration.
- Applicant’s three most recent NCOERs must reflect outstanding duty performance ratings.
- Have a written endorsement letter (LOR) from an interview with a Senior Cyber Operations Technician.
- A minimum of six semester hours of College Composition (not composition modular or developmental English courses) from an accredited academic institution. Speech and public speaking courses are not considered as meeting this requirement even if administered by the English department of an institution. Successful completion of the CLEP College Composition examination or an Associate’s degree or higher (when the preponderance of college credit is from college instruction vice credited experience) are the only acceptable alternatives.
- Technical certifications related to the Cyber Mission Force work roles
- Hold a current IAT/IAM level 3 certification
- Hold an associate degree or higher from an accredited college or university.
- Applicants from outside 25 and 35 series CMF enlisted MOSs should have strong technical background and at least a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science, Programming, or a similar degree.
You can get the official listing of prerequisites on the USAREC site.
This is an interesting process to watch to say the very least. I have absolutely no idea when the last time was that the Army tried to stand up a brand new corps from scratch but I at least personally have some concerns about how this is going so far. As of right now for at least the warrants and the NCOs to only really be grabbing people who are already working the jobs is going to make it incredibly hard to fill the ranks. You have to assume that at least some of the guys that are currently doing the job are not going to want to give up being signal or MI which means that at some point you will run out of people who are “already doing it”. How do we fill the ranks then? At some point we are going to have to look towards people in the rest of the force and even eventually off the street (although I still think it is going to be a very hard sell to find someone with the required skills on the street and convince them to go to basic training and live the Army life. I am sure that the Army has a plan (if anyone knows it, I’d love to hear), but until them it’s a little bit of a wait and see.