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Cyber Command Will Miss Friday's Operational Deadline 156

Posted by samzenpus
from the army-of-none dept.
techinsider writes "The U.S. Cyber Command won't be fully operational by Friday's October 1st deadline. A major challenge appears to be staffing the command with qualified personnel, of which it will need over 1,000 skilled employees. General Alexander told Congress his leadership staff was in place but acknowledged there were challenges in bringing in people to the rest of the organization."
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Cyber Command Will Miss Friday's Operational Deadline

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  • Must've been delayed by cyberstorm iii

  • Staff shortages (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rm0ny (722443) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:02AM (#33745498) Journal
    Can't get qualified IT staff? Why should someone who has studied for several years and has worked to gain specialist knowledge, want to work in an environment where people who know less than them and don't have to break their backs to meet arbitrary deadlines are more highly rewarded? When those with the greatest expertise and who have to work hardest to actually create the product get the smallest portion of the credit and the pay, no wonder there are problems encouraging people to work in the field.
    • by captain29 (1037366) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:04AM (#33745502)
      I guess they can't outsource the IT work to india?
      • by Chrisq (894406)

        I guess they can't outsource the IT work to india?

        If you believe that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" you could. Nobody hates Al Quaida more than (non mozzy) Indians.

      • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

        Darn it, you practically stole my line!

        Though personally it sounded way to much like what companies say when asking for H1B visas it was scary...

        Makes you wonder what the government wants for qualifications... 20 years experience with ruby on rails maybe...?

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @09:07AM (#33745924) Homepage

          US cyber-command requirements.

          60+ years experience with windows 7 and Windows 8
          12+ years experience with Quantum computing
          Ability to hack a Russian missile site in 2 minutes with a gun to their head.
          Can transfer large amounts of money across the globe untraceably.

          Having the quirk of standing up and yelling "I am invincible" after every major objective is a plus.

        • Re:Staff shortages (Score:4, Interesting)

          by erroneus (253617) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @10:05AM (#33746534) Homepage

          The root of the problem is that "something" is suppressing IT worker pay and that fewer people are interested in doing that sort of work for the rest of their lives. How did that happen? Just gotta follow it all back to see where it started. There was a time when IT was well paid. It could have stopped if the government took a firm stand on the H1B issue. It could also stop if the government interrupted the flow of foreign students here.

          We have a serious problem with our final superior asset in that it is pretty much GONE already.

          We don't have strong R&D because current business philosophies see it as a waste of money when this quarter's bottom line is at stake. The mentality of business is breaking the long-term outlook on business, employment and the general economy of the U.S. They managed to sell out the entire nation while the government who should have been preventing this was busy taking "contributions."

      • Re:Staff shortages (Score:5, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @09:13AM (#33745970) Journal

        >>>want to work in an environment where people who know less than them... are more highly rewarded?

        I'd work there, if only to oversee the operations and make sure the staff are Obeying the Constitution (no searches without warrants) rather than tearing it to shreds. I also find it hard to believe, with 10% unemployment, they can't find engineers/software people who are desperate for jobs. The hiring staff are probably being nitpicky, requiring ALL the skills in every employee, instead of just say 50% of the skills and letting the employee learn the task on the job.

        As for your question: What work environment isn't like that? Every place I ever worked the managers were paid more than the competent workers with the actual skills. It simple supply-and-demand, and unfortunately there's a huge supply of workers so that drives down their wages.

        • most good IT people are to old for the army to get in and do you want to start over at amry private pay as well?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by anegg (1390659)

          We don't have 10% unemployment in the general area in which the Cyber Command draws its staff. I live and work in the area. For example, I posted two advertisements for sys admins several months ago; one focused on LAMP/PHP skills, the other ColdFusion skills. In 4 weeks I received about 7 preliminary applications TOTAL, none of them qualified.

          Clearances are required, and in this area finding qualified, cleared personnel is difficult. This has driven salaries up to crazy levels. The government has shot

          • >>>finding qualified, cleared personnel is difficult.

            Then hire qualified, uncleared personnel and have them acquire their clearance on the job.

        • Re:Staff shortages (Score:5, Interesting)

          by frinkster (149158) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @10:39AM (#33746940)

          I also find it hard to believe, with 10% unemployment, they can't find engineers/software people who are desperate for jobs.

          National unemployment for Americans with a bachelor degree or higher is currently 4.6% [bls.gov]. Certainly there are plenty of unemployed engineers/software people out there, but not as many as you might expect.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I'd work there, if only to oversee the operations and make sure the staff are Obeying the Constitution

          I don't think I'd put that on my covering letter I sent in with my resume.

    • Re:Staff shortages (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:07AM (#33745512)

      Why should someone who has studied for several years and has worked to gain specialist knowledge, want to work in an environment where people who know less than them and don't have to break their backs to meet arbitrary deadlines are more highly rewarded?

      Sounds like the management of every company I have come across. If there are exceptions please let me know

      • Google? Facebook?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dkleinsc (563838)

        The big exception is successful startups. Emphasis on the word "successful", because there are a lot of unsuccessful startups out there. And even then, you need to get in early.

        One of the major flaws of corporate capitalism is that people who make a product are generally seen as less important (and thus less paid) than those who sell the product or tell other people to make or sell the product. It's exceedingly rare these days for someone to move from the proverbial factory floor to anything higher on the t

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Pojut (1027544)

          One of the major flaws of corporate capitalism is that people who make a product are generally seen as less important (and thus less paid) than those who sell the product or tell other people to make or sell the product

          This reminds me of a movie we watched a couple of days ago...a biopic on Coco Chanel [wikipedia.org]. In the film, there's this scene where there are dozens of women sitting there sewing purses, dresses, etc...and the woman playing Chanel says "This company is successful because of me! It's called C-H-A-N-E-L for a reason!".

          Claiming responsibility for the company's success while saying nothing of the throngs of people actually putting together her products was simultaneously amusing and disheartening.

          Offtopic: for anyone

          • This reminds me of a movie we watched a couple of days ago...a biopic on Coco Chanel. In the film, there's this scene where there are dozens of women sitting there sewing purses, dresses, etc...and the woman playing Chanel says "This company is successful because of me! It's called C-H-A-N-E-L for a reason!".

            Claiming responsibility for the company's success while saying nothing of the throngs of people actually putting together her products was simultaneously amusing and disheartening.

            When the truth

            • by Pojut (1027544)

              My point was that a skilled set of workers are still required for her to create her fashions by hand. These are incredibly skilled people, passed over by a wave of her palm.

              Whether they can be replaced or not is irrelevant...my point is that back then, her company relied on extremely talented seamstresses. Taking just anyone off the street would have defeated her purpose of selling products made by hand rather than by sewing machines.

              Using your point, take a look at a car shop; you could just replace all

              • Whether they can be replaced or not is irrelevant.

                It's very relevant, and neither twisting what I said in a vain attempt to 'prove' otherwise nor vainly straining to avoid actually address what I did say changes that.

                • by Pojut (1027544)

                  So you're saying a company that, at the time, specialized in hand made products could hire anybody...and it wouldn't matter?

                  I'm aware of your point about removing the "creative" drive behind the products, but what use is creativity if you don't have workers skilled enough to make ideas a reality?

          • in her case its kind of true. The world of style is well... more about style than substance. In this case, the name on the bag is more important than the quality of the stitches.

            • by Pojut (1027544)

              That's the thing though, she ended up banning sewing machines and demanding that all the clothes be sewn by hand, because she felt that the sewing machine stitches "didn't look right".

              I realize it still takes some skill to operate a sewing machine, but operating a sewing machine and sewing together clothing by hand are two very different skills.

              • it doesn't matter if she hired quadriplegics to sew the bags with their teeth. what sells is the name.

        • by c6gunner (950153)

          It's exceedingly rare these days for someone to move from the proverbial factory floor to anything higher on the totem pole than the equivalent of senior foreman.

          Of course it's rare. If you have 2,000 workers for one VP, that means that even if every VP is an ex-worker you'd only have a 1 in 2,000 chance of making VP. In what universe could it be any different?

          • by h4rm0ny (722443)

            Of course it's rare. If you have 2,000 workers for one VP, that means that even if every VP is an ex-worker you'd only have a 1 in 2,000 chance of making VP. In what universe could it be any different?

            The poster didn't say VP though. They said "equivalent of a senior foreman". And your logic misses the point. The question isn't one of what chance any individual worker has of becoming upper management, but of the chance of that member of upper management having been any one of those individual workers. It's not "did worker X get put in charge" but "did the person in charge have any history as a worker?"

        • It's exceedingly rare these days for someone to move from the proverbial factory floor to anything higher on the totem pole than the equivalent of senior foreman.

          Don't kid yourself, it was rare 'back then' too. There is no 'lost golden age'.

          n geek-land, those translate to techies' career path frequently blocked by de facto policy from getting past something like Senior Software Architect in a lot of corporations.

          Makes sense to me, as geek skills are of little use above that level.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by chemicaldave (1776600)
      While looking for jobs in the DC Area I noticed several openings with Raytheon that seemed to be what Cyber Command is looking for, "Cyber Warrior" being one of them. Most of the openings were looking for extremely specific qualifications, yet I didn't notice any mention of training for applicants that might not be completely what they're looking for. Perhaps they need to lower their standards just a bit.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon (87307)

        See, the military is supposed to have trained these people already. And vetted them for TS/SCI clearances so that Raytheon doesn't have to pay for that either. Then, upon honorable discharge, they can do the same job for 1.5x the pay, but get to wear a poloshirt instead of digis and think that they're having fun. If that doesn't describe you, then you're too expensive to invest in, will take too long to process, and they don't want to bother,

        • I don't have a problem with enlisting, the problem is that even to enlist at this time would be competitive. So basically a person has to enlist, hope they can get top secret clearance, and hope again that they can get this job?

          It's going to take them years to staff up.

          • by bsDaemon (87307)

            Its not like they don't already have a pool of qualified staff. They just have to poach from places such as NORAD, DIA, DSA, etc.

            Every year the NSA sponsors computer security war games between the service academies, where they have to defend against NSA hackers, and the school to hold out the longest wins the trophy. Non-officers get training if their MOS requires it.

            It just seems to be needing to find enlisted personnel who can be re-purposed to the new command without disrupting current operations too m

          • by geekoid (135745)

            Except it's not true. go to USAJOBS and search for USCYBERCOM. And remember, many of the returns are for several positions.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          yeah, those 100K jobs with great benefits, they sure suck.

          And it sure isn't fun wearing a polo shirt while working on extremely difficult problems.

          you need to be modded -1 ignorant

          • by bsDaemon (87307)

            I work for a much smaller company than Raytheon, and didn't have to do service first to get my gig. My comment isn't about the job, its about the fact that a lot of the bigger companies want the drop-in people that they don't have to spend the copious amounts of money to get cleared, while having them on the pay roll for a few months not doing anything because they aren't allowed to. It's an expensive and involved process, and a lot of the times someone who is "good enough" and can start working NOW is go

      • by elucido (870205) *

        While looking for jobs in the DC Area I noticed several openings with Raytheon that seemed to be what Cyber Command is looking for, "Cyber Warrior" being one of them. Most of the openings were looking for extremely specific qualifications, yet I didn't notice any mention of training for applicants that might not be completely what they're looking for. Perhaps they need to lower their standards just a bit.

        Of course they need to lower their standards. Obviously if they can't find the staff to meet their standards they need to lower them.

    • Isn't that a problem is just about every field?

      Managing a group rather than being treated as a skill(which it is, very much so) is instead treated as a position because of some waffle about all the extra responsibility they have to take on.(how often do managers actually take responsibility/the blame for a fuckup? the ones still there in any company are the ones most skilled at shifting blame elsewhere)

      A skilled coder can be terrible as a manager so simply making all managers coders doens't fix it.
      A manager

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        It's why I left IT/IS for embedded programming for buildings and automation. It's much more specialized and very few people doing it so I command higher pay and have zero problems with joblessness in this economy. I have headhunters calling me monthly. The smart guy will diverge to robotics, or another section that has very few people doing it but is growing fast.

        When this field saturates, I'll already be off to the next one that is growing rapidly or does not have enough experienced people in it.

    • Can't get qualified IT staff? Why should someone who has studied for several years and has worked to gain specialist knowledge, want to work in an environment where people who know less than them and don't have to break their backs to meet arbitrary deadlines are more highly rewarded? When those with the greatest expertise and who have to work hardest to actually create the product get the smallest portion of the credit and the pay, no wonder there are problems encouraging people to work in the field.

      I guess you are new to the real world, it's not a managers job to be an expert in the field his job is to motivate. The good ones may not have expert knowledge in their field but get input from their team about decisions and deadlines. The reason Cyber Command is not fully staffed is because not only do they have to find qualified personal but their personal will need to be free of personal discretions, not because IT staff are refusing to enter a work place where they will be working for someone else.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        it's not a managers job to be an expert in the field his job is to motivate.

        what I have experienced in big business, they hire a lot of incompetent managers... Most fail to motivate.

    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      Really after being sans job for over a year I'd work there if they would pay to relocate me... I know 'cybercommand' isn't anywhere near where I live, so that's basically a must. Heck these days the government might even be one of the only places that would pay to relocate me... It may not be the greatest thing on my resume, but neither is a year without work... At least it's in my field though, which is better than what I'll have to do really soon now...

    • Re:Staff shortages (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Almost-Retired (637760) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:34AM (#33745686)

      But, are the people who are charged with doing all this hiring cognizant of the type of folks to hire? I'd almost bet the farm they are far more interested in the results of a background check, than in the potential talent of the person being considered. Its the government way.

      IMO what they want is someone who is intimately familiar with a code base whose source can change in response to perceived or actual threats, sometimes by tens of kilobytes a day. I'll submit that such a person does not exist who can also get a clean bill of health from the background checking spooks. And may not exist at all.

      Another poster said of the payscale, that it is more than likely 10% of what that same person could earn working the other side of the line or at a large commercial firm.

      Point being, if he can do the job, he is worth whatever he asks, and conversely if he cannot do the job, he is excess baggage to be removed from the payroll. And a thousand people is IMO, a very unrealistic figure. 10 good guys/gals in constant communication should be able to handle any attacks in almost real time, by writing the defense code in almost real time. Say about 50 altogether for 24/7/366 coverage. But pulling 50 such people out of the enterprise arena, assuming they are willing to pay what they are worth, would leave a minor but detectable vacuum in the talent pool.

      One old farts nickles worth.

      --
      Cheers, Gene
      "There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
        soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
      -Ed Howdershelt (Author)
      Man's unique agony as a species consists in his perpetual conflict between
      the desire to stand out and the need to blend in.
                                      -- Sydney J. Harris

      • Re:Staff shortages (Score:5, Informative)

        by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @09:43AM (#33746242) Journal

        Piece of cake. They just need people that are not gay, have never smoked marijuana, can code in their sleep, and are willing to work for less than they could in the private sector. And they must not mind having military and bureaucrats for bosses who make 5 times more money for "leading" them in tasks that they themselves are clueless about. And be able to live up to deadlines that are decided by committees of higher up bosses who are new to the interweb.

        What is so difficult about that?

        • by c6gunner (950153)

          Well, to start off, your first two requirements are invalid - having smoked marijuana will not disqualify you, nor will your sexual preference as long as you don't come right out and yell "HEY, I LIKE THE PENIS!" during your interview.

          As for bosses making "5 times more", that's also unlikely, unless by "bosses" you mean "top earning generals", which would be silly (rather like complaining about the salary of Bill Gates compared to his help-desk workers).

          The only valid point you may have is that the civvie-e

        • Re:Staff shortages (Score:5, Informative)

          by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday September 30, 2010 @10:56AM (#33747234) Homepage Journal

          NO one cares if they are gay.
          No one expects them to code in their sleep.
          they pay competitively. More so if you include benefits.
          Their bosses MAY make more money, it depends.
          I guarantee you their bosses are not 'clueless'.
          And from my experiences, I get to dictate my deadline. I will get to do so for as long as I keep meeting my deadlines.

          Yeah, there will be a drug test;however most companies have drug tests. And yeah, there will be some security issues. Since you are dealing with security of government installations I don't really have an issue with that.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *
          Don't forget that they also can't be fat, have to spend several weeks at Basic Training getting yelled at before they can even start, and will likely be given some half-assed enlisted man or warrant office status instead of real rank. All this and they get to put up with all the military bullshit and bureaucracy on top of an already crap job. Who WOULDN'T want to sign up?
      • by geekoid (135745)

        I don't think you understand the scale of attack they need to deal with. This isn't a corporate entity with a measly 1000 servers and 100 firewalls.

        Possible dealing with 100 global scale attacks from different entities.

        And they need support people.

        You watch way too many movies.

        And the Jobs pay competitive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tverbeek (457094)

      You're onto something... but it's the wrong "something". The issues you';re describing aren't unique to this program at all; they're true of most bureaucracies, whether they're non-profit, for-profit, government, or military. What's different about working for the military is its "corporate culture" (for lack of a better term), and that can be off-putting to a lot of people, especially geeks.

    • by Hylandr (813770)
      And this is different from the rest of the IT industry how?

      - Dan.
    • by scubamage (727538)
      I think there's also the fact that your best IT personnel tend to be a tad rogue-ish, especially in the security sector. We like being in control. That doesn't mesh well with having people bark orders at you all day. Further, you're not talking about an industry where its members are known for their physical prowess or lack of drug use.
    • It seems they want to get the most experienced employees from the private sector.
      This is going to be a problem because these types of employees can make more money in the private sector and don't have any incentive to switch to a government job.

      Why would someone who works for Google or IBM switch to the Cyber Command for the US Government? The fact that they call it the Cyber Command also shows lack of knowledge of current terminology. How many of us actually use the word "cyberspace" to describe the intern

      • by anegg (1390659)
        Using the word "Cyber" in conjunction with "Security" for what used to be called "information security" or "information assurance" is currently all the rage in the government circles around Washington, DC. One company I know even dropped the word "Security" when talking about "information security." They just refer to it as "Cyber", as in "we have a new Cyber center" and "our Cyber organization now reports directly to the CEO." They appear to be on the way to transitioning the adjective to a noun, and do
        • Oh dear. It's kind of like those moments when an elderly relative would suggest heading down to the discotheque for some rock and roll.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        The fact that they call it the Cyber Command also shows lack of knowledge of current terminology

        How about Web Warrior Wuffians?

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:12AM (#33745550)

    The title is misleading.

    I didn't find any pictures of Miss Friday in TFA.

  • Career poison... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VendettaMF (629699) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:14AM (#33745564) Homepage

    Could it be that anyone skilled enough to participate is also skilled enough to see a complete operational failure that will smear the resume of anyone desperate enough to work there?
    And with the additional toxic working environment supplied by mass-employed "upper-tiers" of politically motivated and utterly incompetent management not even the draw of decent pay in the coming second half of the recession is likely to reverse that.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @09:12AM (#33745954)

      Sounds like I left the IT world to join the Air Force. I'm much happier 10 years later, don't usually feel the need to drink, and what I do makes a difference, instead of being smothered by useless red tape. Ironically, those guys who told me I was throwing away a brilliant career are all miserable now, and my pay has finally caught up. They don't get shot at, granted, but I rarely do, and right now my happy ass is on an island in the Med, making per diem watching a robot do it's thing. Oh yeah, I can go back to corporate pain in 10 years when I retire and my peers are all terified of getting laid off. This isn't for everyone, and it's not cushy, but it sure beat a meaningless life.

  • we have managers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kubitus (927806) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:15AM (#33745574)
    now we look for somebody to do the work
  • Or shocking anyway. It's easy to shoot criticism at a bureaucracy; but to miss a somewhat artificial deadline in an area which the leadership really doesn't understand is just not a surprise. Throw a financially compelling argument not to work for them on top of it - hats off to Gen Alexander and company for getting it this far.
  • by srealm (157581) <prez AT goth DOT net> on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:21AM (#33745608) Homepage

    Why would any self-respecting geek want to work in a place where there is no possibility of being management, and all the management is, self-admittedly, not 'qualified' to do their job?

    I'm sorry, but I've never been able to respect a manager who could not have done my job, and has done in previous years. Now that doesn't mean everyone up to the CEO needs to be a programmer, very quickly managers stop being programmers and their day focuses on other things (read: meetings and bureaucracy).

    So by my example, a dev manager should be a former programmer, his/her manager should have experience leading a team of tech people, his/her manager should have been a manager for other tech managers before, etc. In other words, each level should have experience doing the day-to-day job of the level below.

    And what about career advancement - it sounds pretty lame when all the management positions are pre-filled, so the only way to move up the chain is for someone higher up to retire, or get dishonorably discharged (I assume the guys in management are career military, not doing a tour).

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      Why would any self-respecting geek want to work in a place where there is no possibility of being management, and all the management is, self-admittedly, not 'qualified' to do their job?

      Government pension.

    • by N1AK (864906) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:40AM (#33745734) Homepage

      I'm sorry, but I've never been able to respect a manager who could not have done my job, and has done in previous years.

      I've never respected a manager who thought their job was to do the job their staff were employed to do. I've been 'managed' by someone two-three rungs up, based on another continent who I met twice. He had no background experience of my area of expertise. He was extremely good at getting the information he required, involving people as required and committed to decisions he made. I'd much rather be managed by a good manager than by a good worker.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I'm sorry, but I've never been able to respect a manager who could not have done my job, and has done in previous years.

        I've never respected a manager who thought their job was to do the job their staff were employed to do

        I've never respected someone who has poor reading comprehension and yet still posts comments on slashdot.

        I'd much rather be managed by a good manager than by a good worker.

        You cannot be an effective manager if you do not understand the job of those who you manage, which was the whole point of the GP comment.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          false.

          My manager can not do my job. He's the best manager I have ever had.

          He gets me the tools I need, get keeps me abreast of budget, makes suggest on how I can present what I have done to our internal customers, he lets me set deadlines. As long as my customers continue to be happy, I get to set my priorities, implement them and get work done. I am not in long meetings, I don't have someone whose trying to micro manage me.

          The point of a manager is to ensure work gets done by the employees. Not to tell the

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      I agree with you 100%. At least if your superior and your superior's superior are/were developers, they'll have a more realistic approach to what you're doing.

      The place that I work at is like that, and its much more refreshing than a clueless manager whipping his peons to get them to do 'magic' which will make the shareholders happy.

    • "I'm sorry, but I've never been able to respect a manager who could not have done my job, and has done in previous years. "

      That's a formula for never hiring anyone who brings something new to the company. I've worked with managers who felt they needed to be able to do their underlings jobs, or else they shouldn't be manager. It's a disaster. Such people feel threatened by people below them whose jobs they could not do, and hire only people dumber than themselves.

      Managers of programmers should not be prog

      • by srealm (157581)

        I didn't say I wanted to work for someone who could DO my job, I said I wanted to work for someone who in the past HAS DONE something similar to my job.

        A dev manager should be an EX-coder. They may not have programmed in many years, maybe not in remotely the same language, and is probably not abreast of the latest technologies or techniques. However they should understand the fundamental concepts having done it before and be able to be a useful participant in design discussions. Above the 'dev manager' l

    • by tehcyder (746570)
      I think the point is that you do your stint there, then get an extremely well paid job in industry, because people will think you are a cross between Jason Bond and Neo from The Matrix.
  • by koterica (981373) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:29AM (#33745666) Journal

    "It was supposed to be a war fighter unit, not a geek unit," said task force veteran Jason Healey, who had served as an Air Force signals intelligence officer.
    A fighter would understand, for instance, if an enemy had penetrated the networks and changed coordinates or target times, said Dusty Rhoads, a retired Air Force colonel and former F-117 pilot who recruited the original task force members. "A techie wouldn't have a clue," he said. --Washington Post [washingtonpost.com]

    With their attitude towards cyber security experts (who are probably also geeks!), I am not particularly surprised they have had trouble with staffing.

    • by koterica (981373)
      I hate to reply to my own comment, but apparently Slashdot [slashdot.org] actually ran this story while I wasn't looking. So yeah no need for another 400 comments on it.
    • by Xest (935314)

      I saw this when Slashdot posted it the other day, but a story I was reading today about Britain's defence review seems to shed light on why it's such a bad idea to be hiring military folk over geeks.

      As part of our spending review, we're thinking about increasing the number of territorial army folk who are the part time volunteer soldiers that are drafted in from their real jobs when the army needs the numbers. The reason they've thinking about increasing this contingency is that they have found people who a

    • by geekoid (135745)

      That's why they are looking for nerds. The need hard problems solved, not easy problems filled with WoW references.

  • by Lookin4Trouble (1112649) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:43AM (#33745760)
    Having seriously considered the positions in question from their open job postings, qualified applicants stand to make somewhere in the mid-$100k range in the private sector anywhere in the country, and closer to the $200k mark in the DC Metropolitan area (the 2nd highest cost of living allowance area in the country, right behind Denver, CO). Salary ranges offered are in the $60-83k starting mark. Offer a competitive wage, and you may just get qualified applicants.
  • and they've contracted out to their friends and relatives, but as it turns out, none of us have the first fucking clue how to hire anyone who actually knows what they're doing. Oopsie!
  • Not suprised (Score:2, Insightful)

    by r4d1x (779518)
    If SAIC is running the show it's no wonder that it is difficult for them to staff the positions. No self respecting IT professional would accept a job under a company that treats their employees like crap.

    Additionally, choosing "Combat Veterans" [slashdot.org] over IT professionals will eventually cause this entire project to fail. Field IT is not a qualification for running a full blow offensive security command. Most of these people are using pre-configured equipment in shock cases and only need to know that cable
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      There is probably room for the creation of a new type of soldier whose emphasis is on infosec, they still learn your basic soldierly type shit but they don't have to go through basic. I would expect all military employees to be subjected to ongoing fitness training, however. It's just not prudent to have people in military situations when they're just going to slow your ass down with their ass.

      Military has a very "us and them" attitude for the most part, so do geeks. Putting them in the same box is a recipe

      • We need a IT boot camp. No DI / NO PT / No uniforms. Make more like a class room and not a full on PT filled Boot camp. We have lots of GOV IT workers who do office jobs have no big need for a full DI filled PT boot camp. Also make it free with a 2-4 year army like must stay in. Even better make all FBI / CIA / other gov IT. Use this system. Does a bench / office IT guy at the FBI need a full fbi academy to do IT work in a office and not in the field? maybe some training about the laws when there are doing

  • "My strike teams ready, but I need a command crew for my shuttle..."

  • Maybe the leadership staff are such a bunch of asshats that no one is willing to follow them? Did anyone else read "Miss Friday's" as referring to the Heinlein heroine?
  • What" No Indians? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrentTheThief (118302) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @10:07AM (#33746566)

    The military never, ever has a problem filling billets for "knowledgeable" people to make "important" decisions with "authority" and "zeal."

    The problem they do have, however, is that none of the people who actually understand and "live" for the work are ever the same as those "knowledgeable" people who make "important" decisions with "authority" and "zeal."

    In other words, they have plenty of chiefs and no fucking indians. (that's not a pun at India, it's a phrase familiar to all sailors and many Marines.)

    Smart and innovative people are frequently classed as troublemakers and misfits when they chaff at the idiocy of military stricture. It's hard to live with arbitrary rules that either have no rationale or lost whatever usefulness they had 50 years ago. You can't lure people in with glamour jobs where none exist. And most certainly not for less than a quarter of the pay. Military benefits have steadily eroded since the end of the Viet Nam war, and they sure as heel won't be getting any better.

    Good luck with that staffing issue, Al.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Wow, you really pretty much learned everything you know from TV troops, haven't you?

      • No, actually I learned all of that from a couple decades of active duty. You'd be amazed at how many of your parent's generation are reading this rag.

  • No, I'm not trying to be funny. What are they paying, and have they gotten over the idiocy of looking for 1000 security guys amongst the military? They need experts on the effects and targets, but they also need real experts in security. If they only hire the first, they are idiots, and they're not going to find 1000 people in the military who do both. They're not even going to find 1000 people who can do one.

    So what are they paying, where are they looking, who's their headhunter?

    • by Legion303 (97901)

      > So what are they paying

      FTA: "The command has a budget of about $120 million this year, and is scheduled to receive approximately $150 million in fiscal 2011."

      So to answer your question, ($150M - overhead - equipment - military waste spending) / 1000 = $not very fucking much.

      • Well done. Unless the 1000 people means 500 janitors and 500 professionals, the money can't be all that great for the professionals. Excellent point.

  • In the MD/DC/VA area, everyone works for some form of gov't agency. Ft. Meade is also home to another larger and sexier IT-type agency which shall remain nameless, so they are competeing heavily for the IT talent they have. Also, agencies in the suburbs between DC and Baltimore generally pay less than those located in the District and NoVA, so people with the clearances required to work there would be taking a paycut. The short answer.... pay more or lower your expectations.
  • Nothing against Columbia Md or the base there, but maybe....just maybe it's because the geeks and nerds they want would rather live someplace better?

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"

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