FORT GORDON, Ga. (Nov. 7, 2014) – The U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon All Hands Town Hall was held Oct. 31 in Alexander Hall. It was Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty’s first town hall since becoming the U.S. Army Cyber CoE and Fort Gordon commanding general.
Service members and federal employees filled the hall to hear the commanding general’s vision for the installation and updates on the transformation to the Cyber CoE. Fogarty opened with a reminder that although the main focus appears to be on cyber, signal remains a crucial component. He asked the audience — many of whom were signal Soldiers — to keep an open mind, adding it’s not a replacement of the Signal Corps, but instead an integration.
“The Signal Corps is going to be even more important in the future than it is today, but it’s only going to be true if we can make a couple of fundamental changes, and we can integrate effectively with electronic warfare, with cyber, and with the (intelligence) corps,” Fogarty said.
Some of those changes have yet to be established, and others have either been planned or are in place. The cyber branch will be comprised of less than 3,000 service members, all of whom will be trained at Fort Gordon.
Equally important as training is the writing of doctrine and capabilities required to enable integration of signal, cyber, electronic warfare, and military intelligence.
“That’s really our task, and that’s what I need you to help me with,” Fogarty said. “At the end of the day, it’s really all about connecting our forces to each other in a way we’ve never done before.”
By October of next year, the Cyber Center of Excellence is expected to enter full operational capability (Phase III). The end state will include a fundamentally changed Signal Corps that will require top secret clearance for many, and transformation of several facilities into sensitive compartmented information facilities. The change will be an opportunity for signal, cyber, and intelligence Soldiers to work together in a way they are not used to.
“At the end of the day, it’s really all about connecting our forces to each other in a way we’ve never done before,” Fogarty said.
Fogarty said that while “Cyber” replaced “Signal” on the sign at McKenna Gate 1, a lot of work has yet to happen before the branches can begin working as cyber, adding that it will take a while to understand their roles.
” Although the sign changed, we really don’t have a cyber workforce here yet for the most part,” Fogarty said. “We are truly building the airplane while we’re flying it, and nobody’s going to cut us any slack. So we need to make this sign a reality.”
It’s a reality that has to begin with training people; something Fogarty said is key to building the force. Acknowledging the road ahead is long, Fogarty said there will be some trial and error along the way and doesn’t expect to get everything right the first iteration.
“It’s all about making progress, making modifications, and strides, because the operating environment is always changing. It’s continuous,” he said.
With the change comes inevitable growth that will have an impact beyond Fort Gordon.
Lt. Col. Todd Mitchell, Cyber CoE general staff personnel, briefly discussed the growth stemming from Cyber CoE. Mitchell expects approval of the total distribution and allowance document in the next few months. Once that occurs, his team will work with U.S. Army Human Resources Command to fill space requirements, which will likely take a couple of assignment cycles.
“With the civilian positions, you all probably know your directorates are going through the process of writing and validating these position descriptions for a course of action that we believe we have the best chance of getting,” Mitchell said.
Per the CG’s guidance, hiring will be “extremely transparent,” meaning the community will know when positions are announced, giving everyone a fair chance.
As some civilians wait for upcoming job announcements, others are mapping plans for early retirement. Civilian Personnel Advisory Center Director Brenda Waldrop took a few minutes to explain Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment programs. She emphasized the programs are not entitlements, but rather management tools.
“These are tools that the command has in order to lessen the impact or mitigate the impact or totally alleviate the need for a formal reduction in force,” Waldrop said.
There is a list of eligibility requirements and stipulations for each. To get more information, employees can contact the Army Benefits Center online at www.abc. army.mil, or contact their supervisor.
The town hall concluded with a question-and-answer session from the audience.