30 Oct 2018

US DOD expands tech talent initiative to develop critical cyber capabilities

The US Defense Digital Service (DDS) has announced the expansion of an initiative to cultivate and engage technical talent in the Army by bringing together skilled cyber soldiers and top civilian technologists to rapidly build cyber capabilities.

The program expansion is marked by the opening of ‘Tatooine’- a new DDS workspace launching in Augusta, Georgia. The workspace is designed to house tech teams, cultivate talent, and promote innovative ways to solve mission challenges.

DDS is a team at the US Department of Defense (DOD) charged with transforming the way the DOD approaches technology by bringing in private sector tech talent and best practices. The team includes top technologists, engineers, designers, and other experts with private sector expertise on one-to-two-year tours of duty at the Pentagon.

Last year, DDS launched a pilot program to help cultivate, support and best utilise technical talent within ARCYBER. The program deploys tech teams of DDS tech experts and cyber soldiers to rapidly produce cyber capabilities. These highly-trained Army officers and soldiers work side-by-side with DDS civilians in unclassified, collaborative, startup-like spaces using technology and tools found in the private sector.

After a series of successful pilot projects, DDS in scaling up efforts to bring its entrepreneurial culture and technical expertise to the Fort Gordon and Augusta area, the Army’s center of gravity for cyber operations and training.  Through the expanded program, the Army is working to increase opportunities for soldiers to participate in pilot programs directly related to mission priorities and receive specialised on-the-job technical training.

DDS is currently working with ARCYBER to build and empower additional teams. The creation of the new workspace for the program will allow for more teams to be created without the need to relocate soldiers to the DDS headquarters in Washington, DC.

DDS Director, Chris Lynch, said: “Technology has become the new domain for warfare. It has never been more important for the U.S. military to rapidly evolve technical capabilities to outpace adversarial threats. Recruiting, supporting, and retaining technical talent in the military can present unique challenges from training, to compensation, to ensuring opportunities for growth and engagement in a quickly evolving field.”

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