Toward a Coast Guard Cyberspace Workforce

Two Coast Guard Academy cadets received orders to Coast Guard Cyber Command during Billet Night, March 2, 2017. The two ensigns will report this summer to Coast Guard Cyber Command – a first for the service – to stand a watch on the Network Operations Security Center watch floor. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Brahm.

Two Coast Guard Academy cadets receive orders to Coast Guard Cyber Command during Billet Night, March 2, 2017. The two ensigns will report this summer to Coast Guard Cyber Command – a first for the service – to stand a watch on the Network Operations Security Center watch floor. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Brahm.

Written by: Chief Warrant Officer Chad Saylor

Coast Guard personnel are no stranger to transformation. It’s the very reason we’re the multi-mission service we are today. By pooling together mission sets and resources, the Coast Guard is able to more effectively and efficiently meet the challenges we face.

One of those challenges is the ever-present threat to our nation’s cyber security. From malware overwhelming offshore drilling rigs to spear-phishing campaigns against major shipping companies, the Coast Guard must face head on these growing threats to the nation’s Maritime Transportation System as well as threats that could severely compromise and limit the ability to perform our various missions.

Of course, this demanding work can’t be accomplished in a vacuum; instead, it will take a cyber workforce that will integrate both operations and mission support into the tactical execution of this mission, whether it’s faced on land, at sea, or in the air.

To that end, the Coast Guard is developing a Cyberspace Workforce Human Capital Plan to prioritize and implement a cyberspace workforce transformation that aligns with Department of Defense standards and both the Coast Guard’s Cyber Strategy and Human Capital Strategy.

Two Coast Guard Academy cadets received orders to Coast Guard Cyber Command during Billet Night, March 2, 2017. The two ensigns will report this summer to Coast Guard Cyber Command – a first for the service – to stand a watch on the Network Operations Security Center watch floor. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Brahm.

Two Coast Guard Academy cadets received orders to Coast Guard Cyber Command during Billet Night, March 2, 2017. The two ensigns will report this summer to Coast Guard Cyber Command – a first for the service – to stand a watch on the Network Operations Security Center watch floor. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Brahm.

The newly-created Office of Cyberspace Forces (CG-791) will lead the endeavor and provide programmatic oversight, training, equipping and operational policy for the men and women who will make up this new workforce.

Lt. Cmdr. Mark Patton, a lead on the Office of Cyberspace Forces implementation team, said that the workforce plan will examine competencies for operations and mission support in cyberspace, including specialties and subspecialties for officers, cyber security proficiency, training and qualification for enlisted personnel, and formation of an operational community. Since this is an all-hands effort, the plan will take a total force approach, including Active, Reserve, Civilian and Auxiliary into the Coast Guard Cyberspace Workforce.

To learn more about the Coast Guard Cyber Program and opportunities to be part of the cyberspace workforce, please visit the portal page (only accessible on a Coast Guard workstation): https://cg.portal.uscg.mil/communities/cyber-cio-c4it-transformation/SitePages/Home.aspx.

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