The US military is reportedly eyeing the formation of a specialized Marine Corp “cadre” that would be comprised of permanent cyber warfare technicians.
According to Lt. Gen. George Flynn, deputy commandant for combat development and integration, a number of future “cyber-Marines” could spend their entire careers at home – in front of a computer screen.
“One thing that we have to take a look at is, once you get somebody schooled in this area and they become an effective operator, they need to stay in it,” Flynn told a House Armed Services Committee panel in a statement quoted by the Marine Corp Times.
“And so we’re going to have to take a look at career progression [in which it] isn’t going to be acceptable to somebody not to have to go out of occupational specialty assignment to get promoted.
“This may be the case where, once you’re in cyber, you never leave the cyber, something like we do with some of our special operations units.”
Although Flyn acknowledged the Marine Corp would face difficulty competing directly with the private sector, he did emphasize that potential cyber recruits would have the promise of “high-quality training” along with the opportunity to join the few and the proud.
“Just like we see young Marines now returning again and again to Afghanistan, sometimes it’s just the opportunity to do what you like doing, and being part of something that’s bigger than yourself,” he said.
Flyn also noted that the Corp was already “cognizant” of potential threats to military infrastructure – such as power stations, waterworks and other utilities – which serve Marine bases from outside the wire.
“One of the key things we’ve done is identified all our critical infrastructure [in Quantico], so we know where all the critical nodes are, whether it be in power, water supply, or anything else that may pass through the base.”