Cybersecurity

Marine cyber commander reassures comm officers

cyber education

Maj. Gen. Daniel O'Donohue, the Marine Corps’ senior cyber official, delivered an important message to a group of Marines earlier this week. On an April 27 visit to the Corps’ Operational Advisory Group, O’Donohue reassured communications officers that their contributions are not being overshadowed by cyber specialists more focused on offensive operations, according to Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, the service’s CIO.

Given how the word “cyber” is bandied about, some of the Marines had worried that their broader field of communications was “losing relevancy,” Nally told FCW this week.

Nally, who was on hand for O’Donohue’s visit, paraphrased what the major general told the Marines: “I can’t tell you how important you all are as a community for operating and defending the networks.”

Like the other military services, the Corps is building out a cyber force that includes specialists capable of conducting offensive operations. Then there are the communications officers who keep the networks running and make up one of the largest occupational specialties in the service, according to Nally.

“I’m the senior communicator in the Marine Corps, so it meant a lot” for O’Donohue to stress the importance of communicators to the cyber mission, Nally said.

O’Donohue’s messaging to the communications officers was a reminder of the overlapping yet diverse skillsets needed to defend the Pentagon’s computer networks, and the importance of personalities in building out the cyber force.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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