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DoD Taps Reservists To Fill New Info Ops Units

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2000 – DoD plans to recruit hundreds of reserve component information technology specialists in coming years to fill positions in several new military “cyber-security” organizations under plans approved by the deputy defense secretary.

Deputy Defense Secretary Rudy de Leon recently provided the go-ahead for the establishment of five joint reserve virtual information operations and information assurance organizations to ensure that American war fighters dominate the military computer information realm in future conflicts.

“Information operations has emerged as an area that is extremely well-suited to integration of reserve capabilities,” de Leon said in a press release. “Members of the reserve and National Guard are often way ahead by the very nature of their civilian employment, trained in their workplaces to exploit technology.”

DoD needs 182 reserve component officers and enlisted members to man the five organizations for fiscal 2001 and 2002, officials said. Numbers of people in each organization will vary. The total number of people in the units is expected to grow to more than 600 through fiscal 2007.

The reserve component technicians and their units will support the Defense Information Security Agency, Arlington, Va.; the Joint Task Force-Computer Network Defense, Arlington; the National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Md.; the Joint Information Operations Center, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas; and the Information Operations Technical Center, Fort Meade.

The need for DoD to safeguard its computerized information systems is illustrated by recent “cyber warfare” between Israeli and Palestinian computer technicians featuring the defacing of opponents’ websites and massive “jamming” of digital information conduits by email saturation and virus “mail.”

The decision to upgrade DoD’s information security infrastructure originated from a recommendation from the Reserve Component Employment 2005 study, which suggested new ways to employ reserve forces as part of fostering improved integration in the Total Force, said Charles L. Cragin, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs.

He noted that reserve component members who work for info- tech industry firms like Microsoft and IBM will be good fits for the new organizations.

“The virtual information organizations are another recognition of the expertise of members of our reserve community that may not necessarily be an area where we can retain a lot of people on active duty,” Cragin said. “We have a number of people in the reserve components that have that sort of technology.

“They have a very patriotic desire to continue to serve their country. We want to be able to utilize their expertise,” he concluded.

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