Marines expand IT training options

The Marine Corps is looking to overhaul its approach to information technology training, with an eye toward making it more network-centric and less product-oriented, said Brig. Gen. George Allen, chief information officer and director for command, control, communications and computers for the Corps.

At a lunch sponsored by the Washington, D.C., chapter of AFCEA today, Allen said the Corps is looking at expanding distance learning alternatives, including possibly creating courses for noncommissioned officers, and making use of regional commercial training centers.

“We’re working with the Army; they’ve already done it [with] 10 Cisco academies,” Allen said. The Marine Corps has opened its first Cisco academy at Camp LeJeune, N.C. It currently has 70 students.

“It’s all voluntary right now, [but] eventually we will mandate” network training, Allen said.

The need for more network-savvy troops is critical. “Our enemies are intruding on our networks constantly, every millisecond,” Allen said. “During my speech here, we will have been attacked perhaps 100,000 times. Probably many times it’s successful and we don’t know it” until much later, he added.

Allen also asked industry to look for ways to move future technologies into the military’s hands faster to help those already on the battlefield, such as providing on-the-move data communications and cutting the bandwidth requirements for applications.

“If there’s a new application that requires 10 gigabytes on the network, we’re not interested. You’ve got to neck it down,” he said.

Patience Wait writes for Government Computer News, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

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