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Army Cyber Command looking for talent and to grow the workforce

U.S. servicemembers, civilians and partner nations participate in the Cyber Flag exercise in June in Suffolk, Va.

U.S. CYBER COMMAND

By TOM CORWIN | The Augusta Chronicle | Published: January 16, 2020

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Tribune News Service) — U.S. Army Cyber Command will complete a move of its headquarters into a gleaming and well-equipped building later this year but its biggest need will be filling it with the right personnel, the commanding general said.

"It truly is all about the people," Lt. Gen, Stephen Fogarty said, and some of them will be from the area.

He spoke Wednesday at AFCEA Cyber Education, Research and Training Symposium, where he said the rapidly evolving field is demanding a greater effort at recruiting and putting the right people in place.

"It's about a race for talent," Fogarty said. "Things are moving so fast right now that the only thing that can keep up with it is the people."

Those who are in place now are engaged in what he called "information warfare" with the country's foes.

"Those young men and women, they're making a huge difference right now," he said. "They're making a huge difference globally. They've got global reach from Georgia."

About 150 from Army Cyber are here now, many setting up operations and ensuring systems are in place, Forgarty said. He said he plans to move down in May and the majority will begin moving in June and be completed by August. What is still unsettled is how much of Army Cyber's civilian employees will make the move from the Washington, D.C., area to Augusta, Fogarty said.

"That workforce is critically important to us," he said, people who "may be willing to serve the nation they just don't want to wear a military uniform to do that."

That might be a lot to ask for some who may have lived their entire lives in that area, Fogarty said.

"This is a huge leap to actually uproot themselves, their families and then move down to Georgia," he said, and Army Cyber is trying to help them get the right information so they can move, find housing and get their families settled. But some have already opted out, Fogarty said.

"But there are some others that are still frankly waiting to make a decision," he said, although by late spring he hopes they know who is coming and who isn't.

Then, "it's really identifying where our gaps are and trying to get those positions advertised as fast as possible," he said. "I can't afford to have an operational pause as we make the physical move down."

Those openings will create "opportunity for people locally," Fogarty said. "But if they don't step up the people are not going to wait. They will move from across the region to take advantage of some of the opportunities that the government and the commercial sector will provide."

That will also put Army Cyber in direct competition with private sector contractors already here and expanding or who are coming into the area, he acknowledged. But that could actually be a good thing because it will provide pressure to create new talent, particularly for the education systems in the area.

"In government, we will make investments," Fogarty said. "Commercial industry will make investments because the school system has to be successful for both of us to operate down here."

Army Cyber has "very aggressive" recruiting and incentives to fill both military and civilian positions but will always have a need for contractors to work often side by side with those personnel on projects, he said.

"I foresee contractors will always provide a portion of the workforce," Fogarty said. "I think that's healthy. That gives me a lot of flexibility to scale up or down. There's some elasticity that provides."

All of that demand for talent is changing and will continue to transform the area, he said.

"As I see the region, I see what's happening downtown and people are getting it and they understand that this is going to be a very talented workforce, whether its government or industry, and they are going to have certain expectations," Fogarty said. "For the city and the county and the region, I'm confident they will be able to scale to meet those expectations. It's absolutely vital that you do."

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