Marine Corps Starts Recruiting Push for New Cyber Force

U.S. Marine Corps via Twitter
U.S. Marine Corps via Twitter

Those who've always wanted to help the Marine Corps win wars but can't do a bunch of pull-ups or don't want to shave their head might now get their chance.

The Marine Corps is soliciting "highly qualified talent" who can help boost the service's cybersecurity chops, officials announced this week. It's part of an effort to build the Marine Corps Cyber Auxiliary, or Cyber Aux, which will "increase cyber readiness."

It's a plan that has been in the works for some time, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Military.com last week. It won't be like a Reserve that's made up of uniformed personnel, he said, but more like an augmented force.

"They'll come in and offer their assistance, expertise and knowledge to the uniform side," Neller said. "... They would come in, drill and do what they can do."

When Neller announced the new force late last month, he said members can even come in with purple hair. "But no EGA," he added, referring to the coveted eagle, globe and anchor insignia that can be earned only by Marines.

"People, whether they wear the uniform or not, they want to serve and they want to help their nation," he told Military.com. "I think we need to give them a different path for them to do that that's maybe more flexible for them."

Neller said officials haven't determined how big the force will be yet, but U.S. citizens working on the commercial side who qualify for security clearances could be a good fit for it. Those interested in volunteering are invited to email CyberAux@usmc.mil for more information.

Members of the Cyber Aux will "train, educate, advise and mentor Marines to keep pace with constantly evolving cyber challenges," a Marine Corps release about the program states.

"The Cyber Aux is part of the larger Marine Corps effort to better posture forces to conduct Operations in the Information Environment and is managed by the Deputy Commandant for Information, Lt. Gen. Lori E. Reynolds," the release states.

Since they won't wear uniforms, they'll be authorized to operate only in simulated environments and during periods of instruction, the release states, not during hands-on cyber missions.

But that also means they won't have to take fitness tests twice a year.

"[They won't] need to meet the Marine Corps physical fitness and grooming standards," according to the release.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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