Recruit Like You Are Jeff Bezos
U.S. Army Cyber Command protects Department of Defense networks as its primary mission. It also conducts offensive cyber operations and cyber intelligence. Army Cyber Command, or ARCYBER, shares many problems with businesses and competes in an open market for one key success factor.
“If ARCYBER was a Fortune 500 company, it would be third in size behind Walmart and Amazon but ahead of Home Depot and FedEx combined,” said Lt. Gen. Maria B. Barrett, USA, commanding general of ARCYBER.
At one million users, the Army’s network not only rivals major global businesses; it takes 16,000 military and civilian specialists to run it from home base to front line, according to Gen. Barrett; this makes ARCYBER larger than Denmark’s army.
Unlike the Danish armed forces or Amazon, Gen. Barret’s command combines a global presence with military support but faces many problems in common with business giants.
“From a management standpoint, the talent pipeline, I can’t stress enough, is absolutely vital to the success of this mission,” Gen. Barrett said.
“Where does that pipeline start for Army Cyber? It starts at JROTC. We cannot rely on the traditional recruiting models to fill this pipeline for us,” Gen. Barrett told the audience on August 17 at AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta event. “And the significance of this is we will gain educated, talented, highly specialized individuals and keep Army Cyber on the cutting edge of innovation.”
Make no mistake, people and readiness will remain my number one priority at every time during my tenure
There’s another way to become a cyber warrior from within the Army.
“[When we find] somebody that has a unique skill, and if they're in the wrong position and not being optimized, we’re scooping them up,” Gen. Barrett said.
"It has to be like that because these folks are so incredibly talented and we've got to put their talent to work,” she explained.
When these officers seek a career change, ARCYBER has plans to continue engagement.
“In the category of retaining our best, for those who decided that active duty is not it, they put in their time and they’re moving on,” Gen. Barrett said.
“We’ve initiated the Tailored Strategic Retention Program, a program designed to take individuals and help them make that transition to industry and also place them into our reserve component,” Gen. Barrett told attendants.
Reservists could be potentially involved with supporting Cyber Command missions. This program was characterized as a win-win for the Army and the participant as it creates a community of skilled cyber defense individuals beyond the armed forces.
“It helps them, it helps our readiness, it helps us retain that talent, and there’s a very high return on investment when you consider the time it takes to train one of those individuals,” Gen. Barrett said.
Whether it is acquiring the best talent, retaining or creating what businesses call an alumni network, Gen. Barrett seems to have concerns closer to that of a business leader than that of a high-ranking member of the military.
“Make no mistake, people and readiness will remain my number one priority at every time during my tenure,” Gen. Barrett explained.