Marine Corps ‘owes the nation’ 4 more cyber teams

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The U.S. Marine Corps has nine fully operational cyber teams defending networks and conducting operations in cyberspace but it’s not done building.

The Corps’ goal is to have 13 teams stood up by the end of 2017, Maj. Gen. Lori Reynolds, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, said during the 2017 C4 Conference on May 3.

USMC Cyberspace Command’s main priority is to “secure, operate and defend” the Corps’ networks – the basics of cybersecurity. The second priority is to “provide a warfighting capability” to the troops, Reynolds explained, which includes cyber teams working in tandem with Marines on the front lines, defending forward networks and conducting offensive operations.

“We owe 13 teams to the nation,” she said. “Nine of them are built; four of them will be finished building this year.”

The next step will be ensuring those Marines, once trained, stay with the service in a cyber capacity.

“In terms of readiness, the thing we’ve learned in the Marine Corps – probably the most exciting thing going on – is the development of the cyberspace MOS [military occupational specialty].”

Reynolds noted the Army recognized this issue a couple years ago and is working with an established cyber MOS. The Marine Corps is almost there, but not quite.

“The Marines that we have trained, they come from either the sigint community in the Marine Corps on the offensive side or they come from the information assurance community on the defensive side. And most of them, once trained, do not want to go back to those communities,” she said. “From a readiness and a retention perspective, we have to build a cyberspace MOS so that I can keep these guys on mission and so we don’t experience dips in readiness.”