In the face of increased digital threats from foreign adversaries, the U.S. Marine Corps is seeking to fill its ranks with cybersecurity expertise. To do that, they’re asking civilians for help.
The Verge reports that the Marines announced the establishment of that unit, called the Marine Corps Cyber Auxiliary (Cyber Aux), in an effort to help increase “Marine Corps cyberspace readiness.”
The announcement comes after Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller discussed plans to launch a cybersecurity volunteer unit at the 2019 Future Security Forum in April. There, he noted that members of the Cyber Aux would not be allowed to don the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem of the Corps, which is reserved for Marines who’ve gone through basic training or officer candidate school.
Similarly, those serving in the Cyber Aux would be free from the strict guidelines that might turn off non-traditional professionals, with Neller joking that even purple-haired professionals are welcome, according to The Verge. No uniform or adherence to the Marine Corps’ grooming or physical standards are necessary for volunteers.
Requirements for the Cyber Aux do include U.S. citizenship, and a minimum of three years of work experience in the cyber industry or academia. While members of the Cyber Aux will assist “in simulated environments and during periods of instruction,” they are not authorized to take part in any real-world cyber activities.
Neller described the program to Military.com, explaining to the outlet that members of this new force will “come in and offer their assistance, expertise and knowledge to the uniform side.”
Retaining cybersecurity talent has been a challenge for the U.S. military in recent years, because experts can often find more lucrative opportunities in the private sector. The creation of the Cyber Aux is one way the Marine Corps hopes to offset this brain drain.