Uncle Sam seeks a few good techies for AF command

Uncle Sam seeks a few good techies for AF command

The Space Command's Gen. Richard Myers says competent people are the key to good systems security.

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

The Defense Department is looking for a few good patriotic men and women to become warfighters of the future. Their job: Subdue the enemy by manipulating computer code instead of dropping bombs.

Gen. Richard Myers, commander in chief of the Air Force Space Command, made it clear during a recent Pentagon briefing that he's in recruitment mode. In October, the command took over management of the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense from the Defense Information Systems Agency.

'People are what is going to make all this work,' said Myers, a command pilot with 4,000 flying hours. 'It's not the software; it's not the hardware; it always boils down to competent people. And that's a real issue for us in the Space Command and for the Defense Department as a whole.'

Technical challenge

Myers said that the service is trying to attract the best and the brightest to work in government systems security. Finding new talent has become crucial, he said, because DOD will be using leading-edge technology.

'We'll give them the right tools, and they'll be doing something for their country. So we think all of that will make it appealing,' Myers said.

The Space Command will rely heavily on contractors, in addition to government workers and service members, he said. The command can get specialists and expertise from contractors to make up for a shortage of such experts among active-duty officers, Myers said.

Although he rejected the notion that DOD will create an information corps or cybercorps of good-guy hackers, Myers said Air Force and DOD officials are considering creating military occupation specialties that encourage a systems security career path for active-duty personnel.

'I know we want to build'not a corps'but a group of individuals that can work in this area,' he said.

Although it is unlikely that information warfare will supplant traditional battle methods any time soon, it 'will be more important in the future than it is today. I mean dramatically more important,' Myers said.

'If you can degrade an air defense network of an adversary through manipulating ones and zeros, that might be a very elegant way to do it as opposed to dropping 2,000-pound bombs on radars,' Myers said.

His command is working with DOD brass to sort through the legal and policy implications of computer network attacks on foreign nations.

Although DOD guidance is still being developed, Defense has initiated computer network attacks on a case-by-case basis, he said.

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