New Pentagon Cyber Workforce Manual Echoes Top Navy Worries

  • ‘High demand, low density’ for current Navy cyber workforce
  • DOD goal is to shift to a data-centered organization

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Several Navy officials at a military technology conference this week emphasized to private sector and Pentagon partners that they are prioritizing information warfare training, just in time for the release of a new framework for cybersecurity.

The Defense Department issued its most recent update to its Cyber Workforce Framework midway through the WEST 2023 conference co-hosted by AFCEA International and the US Naval Institute in San Diego. The directive for the Cyberspace Workforce Qualification and Management Program is designed to give DOD activities “a broad set of options to manage and achieve a qualified cyber workforce,” according to the Pentagon press release Wednesday.

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro’s keynote on Thursday referenced the strategy as the retention and training tool that will “help bring the highest return on investment for the American taxpayer.”

Presentations at the conference covered descriptions of workforce development goals and examples of how Department of the Navy leaders expect military personnel, civilian employees, and contractors to reach the skill levels necessary to defend against malicious cyber activity.

There is stress on the Navy’s cybersecurity and cyber warfare abilities because “we were already high demand, low density in many of our skill sets, and we remain that way,” said Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, Commander of Naval Information Forces, during one session.

“I do think we are not at our best in training we’re providing for our information warriors,” Aeschbach said.

Rear Adm. Tracy Hines, director of the Navy Cyber Security Division, highlighted the Navy’s Cyber Ready initiative in her Feb. 14 remarks and noted the changes that will come with cyber training. “We’re going to reshape, retool the workforce,” Hines said.

Hines also summarized the importance of the flow of data in the military: “No comms, no bombs.” The Navy needs to have personnel capable of communicating and protecting information, she said.

Earlier: Navy IT Strategy Head on Cybersecurity: ‘We’re Doing It Wrong’

Similarly, Tamara “Tami” North, director of Information Warfare Readiness at the Naval Information Forces, in a separate discussion noted information warfare cuts across all areas and acknowledged the “challenge” of training sailors and marines to keep up with rapidly evolving technology.

The overall Pentagon effort to share information across branches is called Joint All-Domain Command and Control, which was another recurring topic during the conference. Rear Adm. Susan BryerJoyner, who leads the DOD team implementing the initiative, explained that JADC2 is focused on data, and that shifting to such a data-centered service will take an organizational culture change.

The Navy, and DOD broadly, she said, will need to “shift the education for our operators and acquisition professionals in order to think in a data-centered way.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kerry Burgott from San Diego at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Amanda H. Allen at; Bill Swindell at

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