Army to Commission Civilians as Cyber Officers

The U.S. Army has announced its pilot program to directly commission civilians as cyber operations officers is close to launching. Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command, said the pilot program was approved Oct. 27 and the Army will begin selecting officers in a few months.

Specifically, the Army is looking to address shortfalls and add specialized technical skills to its cyber mission force as rapidly as possible, in a program that closely mirrors those for the medical, legal and seminary fields. Currently, the Army is looking to fill 14 specific roles and skills, but Maj. Gen. Patricia Frost, director of Cyber in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, said additional high-tech skills that apply or can be applied to cyber security would also be considered. “We’re looking for innovative people,” she said.

Who’s Invited to Apply

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and younger than 41 years old. They must also have at least a four-year college degree, be able to pass an Army physical, and be able to meet the requirements for a Top Security clearance.

Applications can be filled out and submitted online.

The 14 skills the Army is looking for in this program now are:

  1. Computer Scientist/Software Engineers
  2. Security Engineers
  3. DevOps Engineers
  4. Data Scientists/Machine Learning Engineers (these replace your “analysts”)
  5. Full Stack Engineers
  6. Reverse Engineers
  7. Front End Software Engineers
  8. Site Reliability Engineers (SREs)
  9. Product Managers
  10. Hardware Engineers (EE/Mech/RF/Wireless)
  11. Network Engineers
  12. Field Operations Specialists (Clandestine Capable)
  13. Software Development Engineering Test
  14. Software Designers

Money Talk

Benefits are substantial but pay may not be competitive with what top talent makes in the commercial sector now. According to the goarmy.com site, second lieutenants earn a starting salary of about $35,000 a year, but some pay add-ons are available.

Frost noted civilian positions are also open for these fields, which may generate a higher salary. Applicants can fill out the same application for either the Army or civilian roles.

“In the face-to-face interview process, we make sure that talented applicants end up in the best place for them,” Frost said.

Most recruit training would be in schools at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and Ft. Gordon, Georgia, and is open only to commissioned officers, which requires “a total of eight years of service with at least three years on active duty, followed by service in the U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard.”