The Marine Corps on Thursday approved the creation of a new cyber occupational field as the force continues to adapt to new emerging threats and an increasingly hostile information environment.
Announced in MARADMIN 136/18, the new 1700 cyberspace field includes seven new jobs ranging from cyber weapons, development, and defensive and offensive cyber operators.
Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, directed the creation of the cyber field last March as part of an effort to advance the new Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, or MIG.
The creation of the new military occupational speciality gives the Corps a “professionalized, highly skilled workforce that can effectively employ cyberspace defenses, capabilities, and effects,” Marines said in a press release Thursday.
It’s the latest development by the Corps to adapt to the rising threat of near-peer adversaries like Russia and China. The new cyber jobs will “enable the Marine Corps to continue to compete successfully on future battlefields,” according to the administrative message.
The new cyber operators will work across the Marine Air-Ground Task Force, or MAGTF, and be assigned to companies within the MIG. They’ll provide direct support to various Marine Expeditionary Units, the special purpose MAGTF, and other subordinate commands.
The MIG is a recent addition to the Corps as the force prepares to operate in a rapidly advancing hostile information environment. The proliferation of mobile technology, wi-fi and social media has afforded even small, ragtag nonstate groups cheap access to tools and tech that can aid in illicit financing, propaganda efforts, recruitment, and destabilizing efforts.
To operate effectively in this environment, the Corps published the Marine Air Ground Task Force Information Environment Operations Concept of Employment back in July to guide the Corps in its effort to organize, train, and fight in the information environment.
The new cyber fields will bolster the efforts of the new MIG.
Below is a list of the new fields and billets:
1702, Cyberspace Officer, LtCol - 2ndLt
1705, Cyberspace Warfare Development Officer, LtCol - Capt
1710, Offensive Cyberspace Weapons Officer, CWO5 - WO
1711, Cyberspace Effects Operator, GySgt - SSgt
1720, Defensive Cyberspace Weapons Officer, CWO5 - WO
1721, Cyberspace Defensive Operator, GySgt - Pvt
1799, Cyberspace Operations Chief, MGySgt – MSgt
The cyber officer, chief, and development officer serve as subject matter experts within the cyber field and assist with guidance in the employment and use of various cyber capabilities.
The defensive cyber fields provide tools to commanders to “outmaneuver the adversary in the cyberspace domain, defend the network, enable freedom of action and employ cyber effects through real-time detection, analysis and mitigation of threats and vulnerabilities,” according to the MARADMIN description.
Offensive cyber operators study potential targets and adversaries and “specialize in the tools, tactics, techniques and procedures” for carrying out offensive cyber operations.
The new jobs support “the maturation of the Marine Corps’ cyberspace workforce through the establishment of specific career paths, standardized training continuum, and mechanisms to retain trained and qualified Marines within the cyberspace community,” the Corps stated.
The Corps plans to release details for Marines planning to make lateral moves into the new cyber fields later. Marines interested in the new career field should speak with their monitor.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.