‘Cyber warriors’ are needed online

| March 18, 2011 | 0 Comments

Capt. John Wiebeld
715th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Do you know what a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, or DHCP, is, and do you know what binary numbers are?

Do you know which protocol operates at the transport layer of the Open System Interconnection, or OSI, model?

If you answered yes to these questions, you may be ready to be the Army’s next “cyber warrior,” battling it out in the realm of cyberspace, a domain where the creatures have no physical bodies, yet can attack computers and your lives without warning.

But what is cyberspace? What is a cyber warrior? How does all this affect me?

And why is cyberspace a threat? How does it affect the warfighter on the battlefield, and what is the military doing about it?

The answers to these questions are why the cyber domain is being taken to a whole new level of importance within the Department of Defense. The 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, or INSCOM, is working on the cyberspace front lines, helping to develop and implement plans for dealing with cyberspace issues on all echelons.

“Cyberspace is the first new DOD warfighting domain in some 30 years, joining land, sea, air and space: it is unique in that it is the only man-made domain,” said Al Monteiro, National Security Agency-Hawaii cyber operations officer, at the 500th MI Bde.’s second annual Cyber Conference held, here, recently. “It changes constantly, and the ‘laws’ that govern it are also subject to change, unlike the laws of physics in the other domains.”

Additionally, Monteiro said the opportunities presented by cyberspace include smaller, lighter, faster two-way applications of command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or C4ISR, down to the lowest tactical echelon.

That means cyberspace creates and has many risks — risks that affect users.

“The risks come from the fact that the data is potentially exposed at all of those levels,” Monteiro explained, adding that cyberspace risks are “following Soldiers and civilians home in a way that never existed previously. “

“Identity theft, social networking, personnel actions, financial data, viral video, operational security concerns,” Monteiro continued, are “how our adversaries (which include hacker, criminals and terrorist groups) threaten us using cyberspace. … It is serious business affecting the nation and the Army.”

These reasons are why the Army was charged with establishing a new U.S. Cyber Command, which will fall under INSCOM.

To help populate this new command with top-of-the-line intelligence community Soldiers and leaders, Maj. Gen. Mary Legere, commander, INSCOM, has tasked her main subordinate commands to look within to find the Army’s cyber warriors.

The 715th MI Battalion, 500th MI Bde., has initiated a testing phase and is actively looking at all Soldiers, regardless of their military occupational specialty to find future cyber warriors.

Soldiers must pass a battery of tests — four to six depending on aptitude and possible placement — to even be considered for these positions, according to Staff Sgt. Phillip Edwards, who works with the 715th MI Bn. testing team.

Statistically, he explained, less than five percent of the Soldiers who take the first test pass, and only one percent of those Soldiers make it all the way though the selection process.

“The opportunities for today’s cyber warriors to contribute to the nation’s security are akin to the impact aviators had on warfare, with the dawn of airpower in the early 20th century,” said Lt. Col. Dave Perrine, commander, 715th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde.

“With direct assistance from Army Cryptologic Operations in subject matter expertise and training resources, 715th MI Bn. Soldiers are developing and executing cyberspace operations that provide both immediate and long-term defenses of our country,” he said.

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Category: News, Safety

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