Navy’s top cyber adviser says force readiness improved 20 percent in last year

Following the creation of enlisted and officer work roles for cyber operators, the Navy is seeing steady increases in its readiness.
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (Sept. 27, 2018) – Sailors stand watch in the Fleet Operations Center at the headquarters of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F). (U.S. Navy Photo by MC1 Samuel Souvannason/Released)

The Navy has increased the readiness of its cyber force that conducts operations by 20 percent, according to a top official.

The U.S. cyber mission force includes 133 offensive, defensive and support teams that conduct ops for Cyber Command. Each of the military services is responsible for providing personnel for a set number of teams to the organization, which then employs those forces in operations for the other geographic combatant commands.

While readiness issues have plagued all the services’ contributions, the Navy has faced heavy criticism from former officials, outside experts, and namely, Congress. Lawmakers grew worried that the Navy’s forces were woefully inadequate.

Last year, at Congress’ direction, the service created specific work roles to address some of those concerns, including the cyber warfare technician rating for sailors and the maritime cyber warfare officer designator. Up to that point, it was the only service that did not have dedicated work roles for its cyber personnel, which were mostly made up of the cryptologic warfare community — which is also responsible for signals intelligence, electronic warfare and information operations, among several mission sets.


Now, after those efforts, the Navy appears to be improving its readiness.

“I’m happy to report that the Navy cyber mission force readiness has increased by 20 percent in the last year,” Anne Marie Schumann, principal cyber adviser for the Department of the Navy, said Wednesday at Defense Talks hosted by DefenseScoop, during her first public speaking engagement since taking the role in April.

Officials in the past had noted there have been improvements in readiness due to these changes, but declined to offer specific metrics or numbers.

Schumann, for her part, also declined to offer “operational specifics to justify what I feel is the quality of our sailors and Marines.”

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