The Other Quiet Professionals: Lessons for Future Cyber Forces from the Evolution of Special Forces

The Other Quiet Professionals: Lessons for Future Cyber Forces from the Evolution of Special Forces

The Other Quiet Professionals: Lessons for Future Cyber Forces from the Evolution of Special Forces

The Other Quiet Professionals: Lessons for Future Cyber Forces from the Evolution of Special Forces

Synopsis

With the establishment of U.S. Cyber Command, the cyber force is gaining visibility and authority, but challenges remain, particularly in the areas of acquisition and personnel recruitment and career progression. A review of commonalities, similarities, and differences between the still-nascent U.S. cyber force and early U.S. special operations forces, conducted in 2010, offers salient lessons for the future direction of U.S. cyber forces.

Excerpt

U.S. special operations forces have a long and storied history and represent a mature, long-standing capability, but one that struggled in the 1970s and 1980s before winning an institutional champion and joint home in the form of U.S. Special Operations Command. U.S. cyber forces represent new but increasingly critical U.S. military capabilities. With the establishment of U.S. Cyber Command in 2010, the cyber force is gaining visibility and authority, but challenges remain. What lessons might the evolution of U.S. special forces hold for the growing U.S. cyber force?

This report was originally written in 2010 and subsequently updated to reflect ongoing changes to U.S. Cyber Command. The research documented here reviews the history and structure of U.S. special operations forces to extract lessons learned that could be applicable to the Army’s cyber organizational efforts.

The sponsors of this research, titled “Tactical Land Cyber Operations and Capabilities,” are the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Army Capabilities Integration Center, and the U.S. Army Cyber Command. The research was conducted within RAND Arroyo Center’s Force Development and Technology Program. RAND Arroyo Center, part of the RAND Corporation, is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Army.

The Project Unique Identification Code (PUIC) for the project that produced this document is RAN136447.

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