Training Cyber Warriors: What Can Be Learned from Defense Language Training?
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA
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As the importance of cyber operations in national security grows, the U.S. military s ability to ensure a robust cyber workforce becomes increasingly important in protecting the nation. A particular concern has been the growing need for cyber warriors highly trained and specialized individuals who engage in offensive and defensive operations. The authors seek to help those planning future training for cyber warriors by highlighting what can be learned from another specialty defense language. While there is no perfect analogy between cyber personnel and another segment of the national security workforce, a number of similarities exist between the need for language skills and cyber warrior expertise, including the need for a highly specialized skill that requires extensive training, the critical role of the skill in mission effectiveness, a need to quickly build capacity, and a potentially limited pipeline of qualified candidates. In this exploratory study, the authors examine what the military services and national security agencies have done to train linguists personnel with skills in critical languages other than English and the kinds of language training provided to build and maintain this segment of the workforce. They draw from published documents, research literature, and interviews of experts in both language and cyber. Among key findings, the authors find that shared definitions and metrics are an important first step, training must be closely aligned with mission needs, efforts should focus on building a strong pipeline of candidates, and training must be aligned with overall workforce management efforts.
- Unconventional Warfare