Cyber Center of Excellence among new additions to post community
It’s official, Fort Gordon is the home of the Cyber Center of Excellence. “The fact that the Cyber Center of Excellence is standing up at Fort Gordon means the Army’s training for cyber defense will take place right here,” said Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson, commanding general of Fort Gordon. “This is made possible because of the excellent resources on Fort Gordon and the community support in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA).”
Maj. Gen. Patterson will command the Cyber Center of Excellence, which will oversee both the Signal School and the Cyber School. The Cyber Center of Excellence will concentrate on doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel and facilities for signal and cyber Soldiers. The Signal School will train 25-series Signal Soldiers and officers and the Cyber School will train what may become a new job series for cyber Soldiers and officers, said Craig Zimmerman, the former director of the Office of the Chief of Signal, who retired Jan. 31.
Cyber training will include ethical hacker techniques, vulnerability assessment, how to recognize and defend against network intrusions and how to perform network forensics after an intrusion or data compromise, among other skills.
The Cyber Center of Excellence is provisionally established and is scheduled to be fully operational by 2016. Fort Gordon will add new positions in the Cyber Center of Excellence, both civilian and military.
To contribute to the Army’s cyber defense capabilities, the Signal Center of Excellence already trains warrant officers in cyber defense as part of the 255S military occupational specialty. In December, 2013, 15 enlisted Soldiers graduated from the first class of the newly-created 25D network defenders course. Cyber Center of Excellence officials have also proposed creating a commissioned officer cyber security specialty. The Army is considering creating a new career field for the cyber enlisted, officer and warrant officer, which means the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) designation could change, Zimmerman said.
Current plans call for training a total of 40 Soldiers per year in the 255S classes, which last 25 weeks each. Initially, 128 Soldiers in the 25D classes will train per year and work up to 280 per year; 25D classes are 14 weeks long.
To be accepted into one of the cyber courses, Soldiers must be recommended by a lieutenant colonel or higher-ranking officer; they must pass an accession and personality test; they must have substantial information technology and information assurance experience and they must have or be able to obtain a Top Secret / Special Compartmentalized Information (TS/SCI) Security Clearance.
Col. Robert Barker, the chief of staff, Signal Center of Excellence, said the public needs to know that the Cyber Center of Excellence is separate from Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER), which is also coming to Fort Gordon. The Cyber Center of Excellence is organized under the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).
Army Cyber Command oversees the Army’s operational efforts in cyber space, both defensive and offensive. As part of the joint force, ARCYBER is the Army Service component under U.S. Cyber Command and is commanded by Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon. Construction for its new headquarters at Fort Gordon will likely start in the summer of 2016 and be complete by 2019 or 2020, said John Ramey, Fort Gordon’s director of public works. ARCYBER will add both civilian and military positions to Fort Gordon.
“ ARCYBER and the Signal Center of Excellence already have a close and critical relationship as the operational and institutional organizations responsible for overseeing the Army’s cyber mission,” Maj. Gen. Patterson said. “This connection will grow and strengthen as the Cyber Center of Excellence stands up and ARCYBER moves to Fort Gordon.”