Hope for Air Force Cyberoperators

Last November I wrote about the Air Force Cyberspace Command. I said:

I'd like to see the new Cyberspace Command sponsor a new Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) for information warriors. The current Intel or Comm paradigm isn't suitable.

Today I read Air Force moves to populate Cyberspace Command:

The Air Force is developing plans for a dedicated force to populate the ranks of the service’s new Cyberspace Command, its commanding general said today.

Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, commander of the 8th Air Force and chief of the new command, said the service will finish deliberations on a force structure for the command within a year and then start filling those positions.

Once service officials have laid out career paths and training guidelines for the jobs, Elder said, recruits will be able to join what he called the Air Force’s cyberforce just as they could opt to become fighter pilots or navigators.

I hope this "cyberforce" is an AFSC for "cyberoperators." These "cyber" terms make me cringe, but whatever they are called it's important to create a new AFSC for these people. I left the USAF in 2001 because I was the only company-grade intelligence officer in the Air Force with hands-on computer network defense skills. Because I wasn't a comm officer or engineer, the personnel weenies at Air Force Personnel Command had no career path for me. That's why I pulled the ejection handles and joined the civilian workforce, where I could control my own career path.

I'd still like to see an independent Cyber Force to centralize information warfare capabilities alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.


Anonymous said…
Just wanted to say that I know the frustration you can get from the Air Force. I wanted to be a Computer Systems Operator, or something in that area. I had the scores to do any job in the AF I wanted. I got talked into going in Open General by my recruiter(BIG MISTAKE). They made me a cop. Do you know how mind numbing that job is? Sitting and guarding a huge hole in the ground for 12+hrs a day gets down right BORING!! Here I am, a guy with a good history in math and experience with computers, just sitting in the middle of the desert. I was doing a job that a trained monkey could do. UGH!! That's why I got out in 2000. I'm very proud that I served my country, but they could have used me in a much better manner.
Anonymous said…
Hopefully it won't be like the rest of the Air Force where only pilots engage in combat. I can see it now, the Tech Seargent will prepare an attack and the pilot will sit down in the chair, push the enter key and get the glory. ;-)
CG said…
"I'd still like to see an independent Cyber Force to centralize information warfare capabilities alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines."

hopefully they wont go the way of most of DoD and contract out all the cool work and then wonder why everyone with an ounce of computer skill is jumping ship to go do the cool stuff.
Anonymous said…
Being in the USAF for almost nine years as a computer dude, I have seen training programs at several different bases. And the bottom line is unless you are at a NOSC (Net Ops&Sec Center), you are not even half-way trained to be proficient enough where it can be comparable to that of the real-world offenders.

And with all that talk about training our "cyberwarriors" to be world-class...we will have to wait and see about that.
Anonymous said…
It is evident that it will take some time for any branch to standup formal training and the career fields but it appears to be underway.

Regarding any earlier posting, yes, many people get their skillz then leave to come to the civilian world, BUT, many of those same folks join the reserves/guard and bring their civilian skillz back. That is a great opportunity for the Cyber area as these skillz can continue to be honed at civilian employers unlike many DoD positions (how many civilian ordinance disposal people are out there?), and they actually bring good practical experience.
Anonymous said…
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