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Navy needs to do a better job of finding the right jobs for its cyber specialists, officials say

The Navy found “gaps” in the preparation of its cyber personnel, the chief of naval operations told Congress. And to remedy this, the maritime military service fills in the gaps in terms of training.

Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations, told the House Armed Services Committee that the Navy had discovered “gaps” in the processes for cyber recruitment, training, deployment and retention of cyber team personnel. following a force readiness assessment.

“We found gaps in recruiting — doing a pretty good job of recruiting talent — and then matching that talent to the right mission areas,” Gilday said on May 11.

The Navy has begun working with behavioral scientists to develop a cyber aptitude test that allows entry-level cyber sailors to be matched “with the best, most appropriate skill sets they can excel at,” Gilday said.

The recent implementation, Gilday said, improved aptitude test pass rates with jumps of more than 30 percentage points due to additional training efforts.

“We have — over the past month, we’ve increased our pass rate on the initial course in Pensacola, Florida, from 40 or 50 percent to 80 percent by taking remedial training,” the Navy chief said. “So we placed people, additional trainers, against this problem. We are doing the same thing at Fort Meade (Md.)… We have found 80 additional cyber operators who we believe could have been better used in the teams .”

In written testimony, Gilday said the comprehensive review was developed to help the Navy “satisfy and support the request of United States Cyber ​​Command.”

“Our commitment to improving readiness also includes our information forces. We have established a dedicated team to improve our ability to generate and deploy forces for operations in cyberspace,” Gilday said in a statement. prepared testimony.

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said “cyber is critically important to our national security and the strategy of our Department of the Navy,” supported by “major investments” since fiscal year 2021 to capabilities and politics.

“Right now at the Department of the Navy, for example, as part of our CIO, he’s embarking on a whole new endeavor called cyber ready so that we can effectively make all of our weapon systems cyber ready all the time, as opposed to in a cyclical way that has happened in the past regarding a complicated and really difficult case [authority to operate] process to be able to designate our systems cyber-ready,” said Del Toro.

The secretary also touted the cyber program implemented at the US Naval Academy.

The Navy requested nearly $2.5 billion for cybersecurity-related activities for fiscal year 2023 and increased allocations for its cyber missions ($548 million) and cyber operations ($764 million) by $74 million. and $96 million, respectively, over last year’s demand.

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