Recruiting the cyber leader: an evaluation of the human resource model used for recruiting the Army’s "Cyber Operations Officer"
Nicholson, Wallace C.
Gibbs, Sean A.
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For the first time since the creation of the Special Forces branch in 1987, the Army authorized the creation of a new branch, the Cyber branch. With this, the Army joined the ranks of other organizations in this rapidly expanding arena. The Army found itself in a situation where it needed to quickly fill the positions required of this new branch. To accomplish this goal the Army developed a recruitment strategy based on the Army human resource management model. The purpose of our research is to evaluate the effectiveness of that model to recruit Cyber Operations Officers and to examine the effects of its continued use. To perform this evaluation we conduct an operational assessment that included identifying and assessing measures of performance (MOPs) and measures of effectiveness (MOEs) based on data collected from: Army institutions; a survey of the Cyber Branch population; and the Person-Event Data Environment database. Our research also examined recruitment strategies and practices in other selected organizations to identify practical recommendations for improvements to current Army practices. The results of this research suggest that while the Army was generally successful in accomplishing the identified tasks of its recruitment strategy, there were inconsistencies in its application. Additionally, through analysis of the survey data we were able to identify attributes that had the most impact on achieving desired effects. Finally, we found that the Army did not recruit in accordance with best practices for the cyber workforce and that it did not use available tools to measure aptitude in its recruitment and the selection process. We identify some practical implications and provide recommendations for further research in this fast-paced operational environment.
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