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U.S. Cyber Command Looks to Fill 6,000 Jobs

With the new recruits, Cyber Command aims to create 133 teams of cyber warriors set up across all branches of the military, and establish continuity in response to vulnerabilities.

The U.S. Cyber Command is looking to recruit about 6,000 cyber warriors and create 133 teams across the nation to help defend against threats to United States computer networks.

"We've used technology and the ability to connect people and things without even thinking about the threats," Lt. Gen. James McLaughlin said to a group of industry and business leaders Wednesday at a Fort Meade Alliance event.

McLaughlin, deputy commander of Cyber Command based at Fort George G. Meade, directs the daily activities of the command. Previously commander of Air Force Cyber Command in San Antonio, Texas, he now coordinates the Department of Defense computer network attack and defense missions from Fort Meade.

McLaughlin told about 250 regional academics, finance, construction, health care, tech and legal leaders that the threat is no longer a teenager in the basement hacking into networks, but cyber criminals. The military wants to recruit those teenage hackers for uniform and civilian jobs because they understand cyber security.

He said the best thing the community can do to support them is to continue to develop new technologies and to communicate their mission to others, especially young people who have the potential for careers in the field. The U.S. continues to lag behind some other nations in producing high school and college graduates with background in science, technology, engineering and math.

"We are behind as a nation in generating the next generation of workers," McLaughlin said.

He said the command's priority is to strengthen its build and train a work force and define who has the authority to respond to threats and vulnerabilities.

The challenge, McLaughlin said, will be to train a workforce when the Pentagon budget is expected to shrink.

Because cyber isn't a physical realm, it's unclear which branch of the military should react to cyber threats, he said. Cyber Command is trying to figure out what the joint partnerships will work most efficiently.

"(Cyber criminals) don't see these lines, they go across," he said.

The 133 teams would be set up across all branches of the military and create continuity in response to vulnerabilities.

"Each service has done it their own way," McLaughlin said. "They have different ways of implementing and defending."

He said it would be ideal to train young people who enlist after college and train them in cyber security. A majority of the Cyber Command is young, enlisted personnel, but there are some government civilians.

"We need to be able to trust very young people with the most sensitive information in the planet," he said.

In five to 10 years, he said the agency will be independent of other agencies and able to operate alone. Their role will only increase with technology and he said they will likely look back to all of the complex issues they are sorting out today and say "I wish it was as simple as it was in 2014."

"U.S. Cyber Command is truly a partner on the front lines," said Deon Viergutz, President of the Fort Meade Alliance.

©2014 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)