As part of the U.S Navy Corry Station based in Pensacola, Florida is a school which normally wouldn’t look out of the ordinary but this one in particular is one which is wreathed in barbed wire and has its windows bricked up. This has been done so to prevent any electronic signals from either getting in or going out. This is because this specific building is the Center for Information Dominance which is the Pentagon’s boot camp for training personnel in cyber war.
Why is the cyber world gaining importance?
According to the US Defense Secretary, cyber may as well become the 6th service branch but unfortunately the military still doesn’t have the required staff for it. The Pentagon stated a few months ago that U.S Cyber Command, an organization which had been created in 2010 for coordinating military efforts online wouldn’t be able to reach its goal of attaining 6,200 civilian and military personnel until 2018 which is 2 years later than when it had planned for. This new force is going to be responsible for defending the computer systems of Pentagon, along with cyber attacks, directions for which they would receive from either the President himself or the secretary of defense. Thus, the government has been working hard on finding and training service members who they feel are qualified for the job.
What is being done to prepare for electronic warfare?
The Corry Station is thus doing its best to make this a possibility. The Joint Cyber Analysis Course by CID is a 6 month electronic warfare program which trains service members from every branch and which has now become required leaning for most positions. The program is on track to be able to train around 1200 students by 2016. The initial 2/3rds of the course consists of important topics which are to help students in understanding what makes and breaks a computer system. After this, the students move on towards the basics of hacking and then learn how to hack a stimulated network with open source software and tools. The curriculum for the course is such that it is flexible enough to keep up to date with any advancement made in offensive as well as defensive tactics which is usually a very unusual challenge which the military has to face because missile technology doesn’t change very often but cyber technology does.
Standard for recruitment
Recruitments for this program by the CID are made on the basis of the student’s aptitude for critical thinking and math which they demonstrate through their military entrance exam. A number of students also enroll for the program right after they have finished their basic training. Having to give an entrance exam as part of the recruitment process is quite different from the scattershot approach which was used by the military in the past to look for talent.
For a number of years after the Navy was merged with cryptology and IT in 2005 which lead to the creation of CID, an army team would travel to military basis and hand out a test based on 20 questions to be able to identify those who could be potential hackers. While some questions were technical, others were based on logic. Those who managed to pass these testes were retrained and then redeployed to act as cyber operators. Hence, this is the way in which such people were found before and the task of doing so has certainly changed.
Nicki is a writer and blogger she blogs about Cyberbullying prevention tips on TheOneSpy Blog as an author. She is against child abuse and cyber-crimes. To know more about her follow her on twitter.