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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Senior U.S. Officials Urge Changes to Create, Retain ‘Cyber Warriors’


The Pentagon must create a new force of experts to combat growing threats in cyberspace, a task that will require changes in how the military’s high-technology experts are trained, educated and retained, senior U.S. military officials say.

But, according to several officials, the military is still grappling with several key questions about just how officials should create such a cyber fighting force, including:
• What skills will cyberwarriors need?
• What training and education will they need?
• How will the services retain them? Often, these personnel opt to jump to the private sector – where salaries are bountiful.

“It takes five years to build someone who can do this,” Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Jon Davis, the deputy commander of Strategic Command’s Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare, said last week during an industry conference in Alexandria, Va. Then, Davis said, “The services have to figure out how to keep guys in the ‘cyber cockpit.’”

The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review highlighted the growing strategic importance of cyberspace, noting it plays an increasingly important role in U.S. operations. The Air Force last fall unveiled plans to establish its first Cyberspace Command. Some military officials are debating how the military should be organized and armed — from a legal and hardware standpoint — for cyber conflict.

Military officials and information security experts say the new cadre is needed to meet the growing potential threats of al-Qaida and rising national powers like China.

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