The new group will provide a professional home for the fastest-expanding sector of the military community.
Any military officer, veteran, or history buff can tell you that war today looks nothing like it did even 20 years ago, with the rapid emergence of so-called cyber warfare. But unlike nearly all specialty segments within the defense industry, the military’s cyber professionals haven’t had an association to call their own.
Right now, were casting a wide net because there’s so much progressing to do, so much integration to do, even on the part of traditional war fighters.
That will change in the near future, when the Military Cyber Professionals Association (MCPA) launches. U.S. Army Captain Joe Billingsley, the organization’s founder and a student at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, has led the charge in getting the group off of the ground.
“It’s been a great deal of work wearing all of the hats and finding the right people with the right skill sets who can help you get this thing going,” Billingsley said. “Right now I’m doing a lot of the work building up the infrastructure, particularly online, building up the portal, and then also establishing the local chapter and all the operations here in Monterey.”
Once the flagship Monterey chapter is fully functioning, Billingsley said, he hopes it can be a prototype for other chapters as the group looks to expand. But for now, the location—given its proximity to other military groups and Silicon Valley—is ideal.
MCPA is planning to take a broad approach to membership.
“We’re not getting caught up with who is a cyber professional and who’s not, because a lot of the theories having to do with cyber warfare really haven’t caught up or haven’t been well developed,” he said. “Right now, were casting a wide net because there’s so much progressing to do, so much integration to do, even on the part of traditional war fighters.”
While MCPA will not take on the daunting task of defining cyber warfare, it will provide standard benefits that members of other defense groups have come to expect, Billingsley said.
The most important one, he said, will be to bring cyber professionals together to collaborate and share ideas—the most basic role of any association.
“A lot of times folks who are very technically competent, highly skilled, and highly trained—like a lot of the cyber workforce is—don’t prioritize socializing or being a part of a team as much,” Billingsley said. “But I saw that as a great deficiency because to be part of a team, to be a part of a community and socialize with other professionals in your field, is extremely important.”