17-Ds Will Be Prepared for Their Assignments
Brig. Gen. Heather Blackwell, director of cyberspace and information dominance and CIO of the Air Force's Air Combat Command, said she wants to understand all the positions available to 17-Delta personnel, those responsible for communications and cybersecurity operations. Those positions will be coded against the DOD Cyber Workforce Framework so the Air Force can flag missing skills and send recruits to Digital University for the proper certifications before they start work.
“It’s an entire training pipeline,” she added, one that should help with ongoing retention problems.
Posture, Positioning and Partners Are Key
While operational technology skills are important, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are in even higher demand, Skinner said.
With China “significantly trying to change the world-based order,” DOD is trying to understand its posture, including its technical debt, and needs personnel ready to operate, maintain and sustain emerging technologies, he added.
To that end, DISA recently launched operational review board with a focus on determining whether personnel are prepared for new capabilities.
Another DISA priority is positioning to counteract foreign adversaries, which means being able to quickly transition in the event of a crisis or conflict. Industry partners are critical to that effort, especially their learnings from their global operations, Skinner said.
He said DISA needs to build its capacity with industry’s help, despite enjoying good funding the last few years.
“I’m not sure that’s going to last,” Skinner said.