USCYBERCOM speaks at U.S. Naval Academy on future of cyber operations

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), spoke at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, April 26th, as part of the Cyber Lecture Series.

Rogers addressed more than 600 midshipmen about the critical role cyber operations will play throughout their naval careers.

“Not everyone is going to be a hardcore cyber professional, but I believe increasingly that in the world we live in, there is a fundamental level of knowledge that we all must have of cyber operations,” said Rogers. “[Cyber] is that pervasive, it’s that foundational.”

Rogers, an Auburn University graduate, received his commission in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. Originally a surface warfare officer, he was later selected for redesignation to cryptology, now information warfare.

Rogers emphasized that cyber operations, at its core, is a mission set that is powered by men and women – that USCYBERCOM’s greatest edge is not its technology but the intellectual power of the highly skilled and trained people who make up the cyber community.

Rogers underscored the critical role of leadership in cyberspace, posing “… how do you train commanders at the unit level and above to understand both the implications of cyber threats to their ability to execute their mission as well as how do you apply cyber capability?”

The future success of the U.S. military’s cyber operations relies on recruiting well-trained, adept individuals to stay on the cutting edge of this ever evolving field, said Rogers.

27 midshipmen in the Class of 2016 will be the first to graduate from USNA with degrees in cyber operations. Rogers reminded these midshipmen that because their field is still in the development stage, they will be shaping the future for USCYBERCOM.

“As cyber operations officers, you will be building the future for the nation and our entire workforce,” he said. “You will be creating something new every day and developing a skill set that no one has ever seen before.”

According to Rogers, most people spend their naval career in fields that have been fully developed by the hard work of men and women who came before them. But for those who work in the cyber operations field, they are trailblazing a new path and molding the future for the Navy and the nation.

“The midshipmen at USNA are at the forefront of this developing field,” said Rogers. “They are the future of the Navy and will be the minds developing new technologies for the fleet that will keep our nation and our citizens safe.”

USNA immediately recognized the critical role that cyber operations would serve in support of DoD missions, and has led the way with a series of projects, including the development of the new cyber operations major, adding required cyber classes to the overall curriculum for all midshipmen and, ultimately, the construction of the academy’s Center for Cyber Security Studies, scheduled to begin later this year.

The building will be a multistory academic mission facility including classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, lecture halls, offices, multipurpose space, an observatory, loading dock, and research and testing tank in support of the engineering and weapons labs. This facility will allow midshipmen to develop cutting-edge skills cyber skills and knowledge before joining the fleet.

Image: US Navy