Man picking a single green piece among white pieces

2018 Government Innovation Awards

Hacking the challenge of tech talent scarcity

Like every organization, the military has had to contend with a dearth of in-house cybersecurity talent. The Army Cyber Command’s solution is a direct commissioning program that plucks technical experts from the commercial sector.

Cyber Direct Commissioning Program

U.S. Army Cyber Command

Government Innovation Awards icon

Click here for all the 2018 Public Sector Innovation winners

The program launched late last year and in May produced the first two direct commissioned officers from a total of 249 applicants. The second set of applicants has already been reviewed, with five individuals entering the program in June. Eventually, officials plan to move officers through the program four times a year.

Direct commissioning programs have long been used to recruit physicians, attorneys and chaplains into the military, so it seemed like a natural tool for targeting another type of talent that is in high demand but unlikely to emerge organically from the Army’s ranks.

After its successful pilot run, Army Cyber Command plans to continue the program with a few changes, including a student loan repayment program that provides up to $65,000 during the officer’s initial three-year term.

About the Author

Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.


  • business meeting (Monkey Business Images/

    Civic tech volunteers help states with legacy systems

    As COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in state and local government IT systems, the newly formed U.S. Digital Response stepped in to help. Its successes offer insight into existing barriers and the future of the civic tech movement.

  • data analytics (

    More visible data helps drive DOD decision-making

    CDOs in the Defense Department are opening up their data to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that help surface insights and improve decision-making.

Stay Connected