Considering Joining the US Army Cyber Command as a Direct Commissioned Officer. Advice?

dragonsdendragonsden A bunch of em...San DiegoPosts: 228Member ■■■■□□□□□□
A friend of mine recently medically retired from the AirForce told me about a new program to recruit senior cyber people from the civilian world to become commissioned officers (up to colonel). https://www.goarmy.com/army-cyber/cyber-direct-commissioning-program.html

I'll be 40 in January, so this obviously seems like a very late start to join the military. But after reviewing some of the cyber skills needed and jobs available, it is starting to sound enticing. I already have 20+ years experience in IT/Cyber, masters, certs, blah blah, so I know I qualify on some of the basic fronts. The starting pay is a concern since I have my own family of 4 and a nice 6-figure salary already at a very established company. But in comparing private sector pay to the military + benefits would seem that the military is stepping up in the cyber realm and trying to be competitive, however still slightly lower than the private sector.

But money isn't my primary motivation if I do this. I've always wanted to do something bigger than myself, for a higher cause, etc etc, and to some degree I have with my former DoD/Civilian experience. But when I decided to go back to school in 2015 for a masters in cyber, I embarked on a new learning journey that was both exciting and seemingly never ending. I wanted more. Now I'm curious to see how far this cyber career can take me, and perhaps the elite training that the Army would offer is the next step in my journey. With 40 fast approaching, I am trying to decide which path to take and get as much information as possible on Army Officer/Cyber Career vs advancing in my civilian career. 

Though I currently make a great income, I do not yet own a house, nor do I have money saved for the down payment (+1 in the join the army at 40 column). However, I recently was promoted and can see some nice opportunities on the civilian side of things too. Hmmmm, what to do?

I guess then my whole point in posting this, is to see if someone else has, or is considering this path for themselves? Any middle-agers who entered the military late in life? If I could enter as a colonel, (and I believe my background may qualify), I'd be short cutting a 22-year career path in the military. I could see taking command of direct reports who have been in their entire lives as a challenge in gaining respect. Would they respect someone just coming in the door into such a high ranking military position w/o prior military experience?

I'm still going to continue my research, meet with a recruiter, and continue on my pursuit of OSCP. It seems that their is a huge need for offensive tactics and having this cert my help position myself better if I were to join.

Anyway, interested in hearing from the community on this.
Thank you.
Dragonsden, MSISA:WGU
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Comments

  • McxRisleyMcxRisley OSCP, CASP, CySA+, CPT+, Sec+, CEH, Splunk Admin Posts: 482Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    edited November 2018
    At this point in your life I would say that you are better off to stay a civilian. The Army would have been a good choice if you were much younger and had zero experience. They put out some great promotional material but as someone who has worked along side them and other branches, you would be severely dissappointed with the jobs they have and the work they involve.
    I'm not allowed to say what my previous occupation was, but let's just say it rhymes with architect.
  • spiderjerichospiderjericho CCNP, CCDP, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security, CCDA, CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, Network+, Security+, CySa+, Pen San DiegoPosts: 839Member ■■■■□□□□□□

    I'm currently on active duty. I joined at 24. I feel like that was a late join lol. But I've met older.

    The new direct commissioning program is a great idea for a high demand job that the military is just not able to fill at the moment.

    Things to keep in mind. Military retirement is 20 years of service. So you'd retire around the age of 60.

    I haven't read on the direct commissioning requirements/standard but I would assume you have to still maintain height/weight standards, and run PT tests. There is also the constant moving and military deployments. Cyber is very high demand right now. You'll be working a lot.

    Training? As a colonel, they'd be giving your more staff, warfare/education training versus technical stuff like SANs, etc.

    Culturally. The Army/military is different than the corporate work environment. It would take some time for you to obtain credibility with your subordinates and especially your peers other colonels who have had a normal military career.

    Honestly, the trajectory you're on with OSCP, etc might be better. But military service can be rewarding. I am not in the Army but if you have questions, feel free to ask me.

  • kaijukaiju Posts: 400Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Simple questions:
    What is your exposure to military life?
    Are you planning to stay in until retirement age?
    What are your chances of moving past 0-6 (Col)?

    Oh yeah, military politics are NOTHING like the normal world. 
    Work smarter NOT harder! Semper Gumby!
  • spiderjerichospiderjericho CCNP, CCDP, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security, CCDA, CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, Network+, Security+, CySa+, Pen San DiegoPosts: 839Member ■■■■□□□□□□

    Cyber in the DoD. Cyberspace Operations is aligned under several lines of operations (see JP 3-12):

    Department of Defense Information Network Operations (Standard IT Operations...e.g. Network Administration, System Administration, Database Management, Virtualization, Cloud, etc).

    Offensive Cyberspace Operations (Objective-based offensive based cyber attacks...see 2016 elections).

    Defensive Cyberspace Operations (think threat hunting, vulnerability assessments, etc).

    The Army Cyber Protection Brigade is headed by a Colonel. There really can't be too many of these direct commissioning colonel billets. There's only so many places you can put them (based on manpower studies and service needs).

    I would definitely talk to the recruiter (or OSO) to see the opportunities that are available as far as the commission and the rank.

    If you don't own a home, I'd maybe sit down with a financial advisor to (after you know the rank you'd enter the service as) and see the pros/cons of staying in the civilian sector or going military.

    One benefit of being in the military is the VA loan, which isn't a bad perk.

  • thaiguy314thaiguy314 Posts: 55Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited November 2018
    So I'm currently a Cyber officer (but as a reservist) and I think if you really have that intrinsic desire to serve then I think the reserves may be a better option. Right now, the army is only direct commissioning people as a 1LT (not colonel as originally stated) and that would make you the the second lowest guy on the officer totem pole and fast-tracked you 18 months at best. As a Active Duty 1LT, I think you'd make 50-60k with allowances and extra pay. I do RMF on the civilian side and make six figures but get the benefits and privileges of active duty soldiers (except I get my pension at 60 instead of the day I retire). I drill a weekend a month and a couple weeks during the summer unless I have an Army school to go to then it may be a few weeks to a few months (but my employer is very supportive otherwise that can be very stressful). As far as new people coming into cyber, all we care about is your experience, your technical expertise, and that you're a team player. We have a diverse range of experiences in our unit ranging from network engineers to cybersecurity engineers to university professors so it's a very enriching environment.

    As far as pros and cons:

    Pros:
    -You get to serve and get the benefits and privileges that come with it 
    -Army provides you training and will often pay for your certifications/maintenance fees
    -Training isn't narrowly focused and can make you very well-rounded (offensively and defensively)

    Cons:
    -Even as a reservist, the Army can be very time-consuming and if your employer doesn't support you or isn't ok with you being gone, it can be extremely stressful
    -pay on active duty is way below what you make now and as a reservist, you make only make a few hundred dollars a month
    -as stated by spiderjericho, the military environment is unique and that's not always in the best way. it's hard to explain but sometimes the most unqualified are put into leadership positions and it can be a morale killer, vice versa, or some people just can't handle the drudgery.

    so to sum it up, I think you should use your Army career to supplement your civilian career, not put all of your eggs into the Army basket. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I can help you with any questions you may have.

    Certs: CISSP, CEH, CCNA Cyber Ops, Security+
  • jeremywatts2005jeremywatts2005 CySA,S+,A+,N+Cloud+,MSDFS,MSMISSM Posts: 340Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Having been military myself went in for a 6 yr hitch in the Army National Guard in the 90's. Then reenlisted in 2011 and served another 4 yrs. Let me tell you the Physical PT stuff is a lot rougher when you get older. The newer PT test are also supposed to be more difficult. Also how are you are marching and running with and without a pack. No joke even cyber has to do it. You also have to consider you could be deployed how is your family life is it strong enough to endure without you for a yr or more with limited contact? There are a lot of things to consider as well as you likely would be a butter bar or a 1st LT at best so lower salary. How do you also do with people 10 or 12 yrs younger or more you telling you what to do? That will likely happen no joke. I also am pretty sure you will need to go to a specialized school for your skills training. Not like Enlisted but the Officer side. It is not simply you sign up slap on rank and go to work either. It is way more than that after all it is the Army. Glad to see the military is doing it because it is as specialized as medical and other professions that are direct commission wish they had it when I was in. Sucks because I saw high schoolers getting the tech jobs who had zero clue on how to work or operate a network and us older more experienced guys out working Sat systems. Never made since to me except that is how recruitment were enticing the new recruits. 
  • spiderjerichospiderjericho CCNP, CCDP, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security, CCDA, CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, Network+, Security+, CySa+, Pen San DiegoPosts: 839Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    So I'm currently a Cyber officer (but as a reservist) and I think if you really have that intrinsic desire to serve then I think the reserves may be a better option. Right now, the army is only direct commissioning people as a 1LT (not colonel as originally stated) and that would make you the the second lowest guy on the officer totem pole and fast-tracked you 18 months at best. As a Active Duty 1LT, I think you'd make 50-60k with allowances and extra pay. I do RMF on the civilian side and make six figures but get the benefits and privileges of active duty soldiers (except I get my pension at 60 instead of the day I retire). I drill a weekend a month and a couple weeks during the summer unless I have an Army school to go to then it may be a few weeks to a few months (but my employer is very supportive otherwise that can be very stressful). As far as new people coming into cyber, all we care about is your experience, your technical expertise, and that you're a team player. We have a diverse range of experiences in our unit ranging from network engineers to cybersecurity engineers to university professors so it's a very enriching environment.

    As far as pros and cons:

    Pros:
    -You get to serve and get the benefits and privileges that come with it 
    -Army provides you training and will often pay for your certifications/maintenance fees
    -Training isn't narrowly focused and can make you very well-rounded (offensively and defensively)

    Cons:
    -Even as a reservist, the Army can be very time-consuming and if your employer doesn't support you or isn't ok with you being gone, it can be extremely stressful
    -pay on active duty is way below what you make now and as a reservist, you make only make a few hundred dollars a month
    -as stated by spiderjericho, the military environment is unique and that's not always in the best way. it's hard to explain but sometimes the most unqualified are put into leadership positions and it can be a morale killer, vice versa, or some people just can't handle the drudgery.

    so to sum it up, I think you should use your Army career to supplement your civilian career, not put all of your eggs into the Army basket. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I can help you with any questions you may have.

    Great post. I read an article about two Army 1st Lts who just completed the direct commissioning.

    Army has a new PT test they’re implementing. It looks challenging (in a good way). Not sure if it supplements the current one. I just know I wouldn’t want to be 50 doing stuff like that.

    Right now, as a network engineer or Cyberspace planner...I am woefully underpaid compared to the civilian sector. I get job offers all the time on LinkedIn, easily over six figures.

    The benefits are nice. But then again there are jobs that have great benefits as well. I had an ex girlfriend whose law firm would always give them tickets to concerts/events, cover lunches/dinner under meetings/engagements, medical, dental, 401K. 

    Most serve because they like the lifestyle (discipline, camaraderie, exercise, challenges, etc). 

    Seriously, reserves isn’t a bad option. But short term, I’d definitely knock out that OSCP and gather experience.
  • thaiguy314thaiguy314 Posts: 55Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited November 2018
    @spiderjericho I'm actually pretty excited for the new PT test. I think it's a better representation of what we do in a combat environment... or maybe it's just the thought of the army doing something new that excites me haha. You should definitely look into defense contracting when you get out (clearancejobs.com is my go-to site). That's what I do on the civilian side for the AF. You're a shoo-in if you have your military cyber background and a security clearance. On top of the six-figures, my job offers medical/dental (but I choose to stay with tricare because of costs), life insurance, PTO, federal holidays off (paid), tuition reimbursement/training assistance, and 401k. No tickets unfortunately, haha. I will caveat that and say that my company's pay and benefits are above the market average in this area of Texas but medical/dental, PTO/federal holdays off, and 401k are pretty standard for any contracting company you work for.

     

    Certs: CISSP, CEH, CCNA Cyber Ops, Security+
  • spiderjerichospiderjericho CCNP, CCDP, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security, CCDA, CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, Network+, Security+, CySa+, Pen San DiegoPosts: 839Member ■■■■□□□□□□

    @thaiguy314

    As a Marine, we already had a combat orientated fitness test. But I like what the Army is doing based on the vids I saw on youtube.

    I retire in a few years, I'll definitely look at contracting or commercial sector. Those bennies all sound great to me. I'll probably stay with the Tricare for my daughter, since she's special needs. But I'm looking forward to life after. I want to earn what I'm worth. And unfortunately, the military is still a little lagging in the IT/cyber incentives. They're trying but they're always going to have a retention issue (especially on the cyber side).

  • kaijukaiju Posts: 400Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    @spiderjericho - Semper Gumby. ABUSE the ability to get certs before you get out. A good friend completed PMP, CISSP, CISM, CCNP/CCNP Security, MCSE 2016 and RHCE (over a  2 year period) prior to retiring. IAMIII compliance, Vet, verified experience and an active clearance will help you to land a job easily. You will want to check some of the GS jobs too. I have seen quite a few high level GS12 step 6 to GS14 openings listed this year.  
    Work smarter NOT harder! Semper Gumby!
  • devilbonesdevilbones Posts: 314Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    A friend of mine recently medically retired from the AirForce told me about a new program to recruit senior cyber people from the civilian world to become commissioned officers (up to colonel). https://www.goarmy.com/army-cyber/cyber-direct-commissioning-program.html

    I'll be 40 in January, so this obviously seems like a very late start to join the military. But after reviewing some of the cyber skills needed and jobs available, it is starting to sound enticing. I already have 20+ years experience in IT/Cyber, masters, certs, blah blah, so I know I qualify on some of the basic fronts. The starting pay is a concern since I have my own family of 4 and a nice 6-figure salary already at a very established company. But in comparing private sector pay to the military + benefits would seem that the military is stepping up in the cyber realm and trying to be competitive, however still slightly lower than the private sector.

    But money isn't my primary motivation if I do this. I've always wanted to do something bigger than myself, for a higher cause, etc etc, and to some degree I have with my former DoD/Civilian experience. But when I decided to go back to school in 2015 for a masters in cyber, I embarked on a new learning journey that was both exciting and seemingly never ending. I wanted more. Now I'm curious to see how far this cyber career can take me, and perhaps the elite training that the Army would offer is the next step in my journey. With 40 fast approaching, I am trying to decide which path to take and get as much information as possible on Army Officer/Cyber Career vs advancing in my civilian career. 

    Though I currently make a great income, I do not yet own a house, nor do I have money saved for the down payment (+1 in the join the army at 40 column). However, I recently was promoted and can see some nice opportunities on the civilian side of things too. Hmmmm, what to do?

    I guess then my whole point in posting this, is to see if someone else has, or is considering this path for themselves? Any middle-agers who entered the military late in life? If I could enter as a colonel, (and I believe my background may qualify), I'd be short cutting a 22-year career path in the military. I could see taking command of direct reports who have been in their entire lives as a challenge in gaining respect. Would they respect someone just coming in the door into such a high ranking military position w/o prior military experience?

    I'm still going to continue my research, meet with a recruiter, and continue on my pursuit of OSCP. It seems that their is a huge need for offensive tactics and having this cert my help position myself better if I were to join.

    Anyway, interested in hearing from the community on this.
    Thank you.
    Hey Buddy,
    As others have said there is no way they are going to Direct Commission you into the Army as a Colonel.  Maybe sometime in the distant future.  If you really have the desire to serve and want to still keep your job, the Navy has a direct commission for reservists.  Its pretty competitive and you can drill in San Diego.  Send me a PM or email if you still have my address.  
  • spiderjerichospiderjericho CCNP, CCDP, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security, CCDA, CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, Network+, Security+, CySa+, Pen San DiegoPosts: 839Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    kaiju said:
    @spiderjericho - Semper Gumby. ABUSE the ability to get certs before you get out. A good friend completed PMP, CISSP, CISM, CCNP/CCNP Security, MCSE 2016 and RHCE (over a  2 year period) prior to retiring. IAMIII compliance, Vet, verified experience and an active clearance will help you to land a job easily. You will want to check some of the GS jobs too. I have seen quite a few high level GS12 step 6 to GS14 openings listed this year.  
    I’m actually sitting in a PMP class next week. I’m going to try to get the cert in the next year (have other higher priority certs I need to complete before).

    I am currently IAM/IAT III compliant, have a technical background, TS/SCI, military planner, etc.

    I was actually looking at cyber jobs through fed. But I’m a lil wary. I have a coworker, who is a retired E8. He was a GS-14. He’s leaving that job to go contracting with DIA. He was tired of working in cyber as a GS and wants to get paid/less stress. In my current job, there’s definitely some major churn. Government cyber is definitely different than civilian.

    Ultimately...this thread is about OP. A lot of folks have chimed in with advice and considerations. Hopefully, he takes them into consideration in his decision.


  • yoba222yoba222 Posts: 1,039Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    In terms of primary motivation, I've found that the larger the company, the less of an impact you can have in making a difference. You can't get larger than the DoD, where you'll basically have zero influence in changing a very, very established process of going about work, no matter how inefficient it might be.
    2017: GCIH | LFCS
    2018: CySA+ | PenTest+ |CCNA CyberOps
    2019: VHL 20 boxes
    2020: OSCP | CISSP
  • FSF150FSF150 Senior Member Posts: 118Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Already 40 and relatively senior in your career? Family of 4? Reserves, if you've got to scratch that itch.

    Just adapting to the military at this point in your life will be major strain on yourself and family. I did 5 years active as a single kid with no experience and it was an incredibly good move. Now, after being out (well, reserves) for a few years I'm having to face that my civ career is fast leaving anything military with little to offer outside of aggravation. At your age and experience I'd look at reserves if you just want the experience of wearing the uniform or something like the numerous DoD Civ opportunities that are in that space if you really want to contribute your skillset to national defense. 
    First we drink the coffee. Then we do the things. :neutral:
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,475Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    At an early age it's a great move.  A friend of mine enlisted when he was 18 then completed his degree and transferred into the officer program.  It worked out really well for him, he ended up stepping out after 20 and leveraging his experiences to join a large corp making similar money.  
  • dragonsdendragonsden A bunch of em... San DiegoPosts: 228Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thank you everyone for your responses and feedback. To say I've done my research, my last step will probably be to met a  recruiter and see if there are any additional opportunities and perks before I scratch this idea. I agree the reserve route is probably a better option at this stage of life. If they are offering other incentives, like loaded retirement years, etc, that would sweeten the pot. But based on the articles I've read, dollar for dollar, they still can't compete with the private sector. I did also read that things may change in 2019 though. I didn't mention, I have already worked for the US Govt in the past, so going military to simply step into a nice GS career down the line isn't my motivation. Been there, done that. No GS world for me. I'm more so looking at CISO in 10 years time, and was thinking an officer role in cyber with the Army would give good experience, leadership, and position myself for such a role. There are other routes of course that don't require enlisting. 
    Dragonsden, MSISA:WGU
    CISSP ▪ ECES ▪ CHFI ▪ CNDA ▪ CEH ▪ MCSA/MCITP ▪ MCTS ▪ S+
    Currently Studying: DevSecOps / Ansible
    Love FreeNAS? Well, this guy is giving away a FreeNAS 'NAS' for 'FREE'!
    > https://wn.nr/45PX4m
  • devilbonesdevilbones Posts: 314Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thank you everyone for your responses and feedback. To say I've done my research, my last step will probably be to met a  recruiter and see if there are any additional opportunities and perks before I scratch this idea. I agree the reserve route is probably a better option at this stage of life. If they are offering other incentives, like loaded retirement years, etc, that would sweeten the pot. But based on the articles I've read, dollar for dollar, they still can't compete with the private sector. I did also read that things may change in 2019 though. I didn't mention, I have already worked for the US Govt in the past, so going military to simply step into a nice GS career down the line isn't my motivation. Been there, done that. No GS world for me. I'm more so looking at CISO in 10 years time, and was thinking an officer role in cyber with the Army would give good experience, leadership, and position myself for such a role. There are other routes of course that don't require enlisting. 
    Yeah you know what to do.  If the Army doesnt work out, there is a Navy Reserve unit right across the street from the Airport.  Good luck and let me know if you need anything.
  • FSF150FSF150 Senior Member Posts: 118Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yeah you know what to do.  If the Army doesnt work out, there is a Navy Reserve unit right across the street from the Airport.  Good luck and let me know if you need anything.
    Navy's direct commission program for reserve Crypto warfare officers might be a great option. Very competitive, puts you around good people and will get you some good experience. 
    First we drink the coffee. Then we do the things. :neutral:
  • natefishpanatefishpa CISSP, PMP, MCSE (server 2012), MCSA (server 2008), MCTS - SCCM 2007, Server+, A+, Network+, Sec+, M York, PAPosts: 1Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    OP - I'm in the same boat as you, but I've been obsessively researching this for the past 4-5 months.  It's how I found this thread. Before I comment further, get O-6 out of your head.  I can tell you where it came from.  The root of all of this was maybe, possibly, someday - if you wanted to entice a CEO of a large cyber company to maybe do his part in service, this senior executive might be able to be an O-6.  The NDAA for 2019 passed and it DOES allow for the change in constructive service...in theory.  But this is Congress making the framework at their level.  The individual branches then make up their own rules.  And nothing moves quickly. The NDAA also removed the "must have 20 years in by 62", so this now, in a sense, made age limits in branches waiverable.  That is, if the branch WANTS to.  

    Check out section 501 and 502 of the NDAA 2019.  It's not letting me post links, but check out the text.

    Like you, I have had a calling later in life.  I just turned 43.  Most of my life, I had been too overweight to even consider this, but having lost over 140+ pounds over the last 2 years, I'm now 13 pounds over the BF% allowed over 40 and am in the best shape of my life.  

    I had wanted to do this my whole life, but at 29 years old, I was over 300 pounds and at the time I was over age limits for OCS.  At 42, over the summer, I had read about the cyber cadres they were trying to bolster.  I had followed the legislation like a hawk, and when it passed, I started annoying recruiters.  Then I found DCO programs!!

    You start to learn it takes awhile to update policies in the branches, from law.  I had some obstacles:
    1) Policy - nothing had come down to them yet
    2) Age - most recruiters essentially hung up on me when I told them my age
    3) weight - 4 months ago, I still had more weight on me than now.  They essentially point you to the H/W charts and tell you "good luck".  My guess is they get a LOT of people that aren't serious, and it makes it that much harder to weed out those who are.  What you then end up finding is that if you can't make the H/W, they have body composition charts.  For the Navy/Army, those are about 26% BF.  
    4) Physical fitness - I run, bike, walk, hike, swim, work out.  Best shape of my life.  But could I pass boot camp?  No.  Too old.  Direct commission is the only way for someone like me at my age.  Most officer training programs are capped at age 35 and are 9 weeks or so long.  I am a few months away from being 15% BF after spending most of my life morbidly obese, so I am not really worried now about the fitness tests over the summer, I can pass them now (or very close to it).  
    5) Pay.  I can't take my salary and toss it away - so active duty was a no go.  

    Physical tests - it seems like on day 1 you don't have to do 50 push ups, etc.  With DCO, it seems you have to pass the physical, then months later when you get to your initial training, they will do the basic physical requirements of push ups, sit ups, running, etc then.  So I don't think you have to worry about being in the best shape of your life to pick up the phone and talk to a recruiter.  But - when you show up to DCOIC or the like, you should be in great shape then.  Your college degree(s) will not help you pass those tests.  

    Options???
    Reserves....
    1) Navy has an Information Professional Officer and a Cryptologic Warfare Officer option.  To do this, you need to contact an officer recruiter, which different than recruiters for enlisted.  Do not make age an issue, and it won't be.  The first conversation I had with a Navy officer recruiter, I told him I was 42 and he told me I was too old and there was nothing he could do.  Essentially hung up on me.  I called back a few months later, determined, and talked to a different recruiter.  I didn't mention my age.  I went through my credentials, and 5 minutes in, he asked my age.  I told him 42 and turning 43 in a week.  He said, "no issue as long as you waive retirement benefits".  SIGN ME UP.  Currently, I have all of my paperwork in but have 13 pounds of fat to drop to hit the correct BF% which will be the tape measure/neck measurement for me.  The Navy, as of this moment, will ONLY allow you to DC as an O-1, ensign.  This is a 12 day course at DCIOC over the summer and then at some point is a 5 month training in VA beach, VA.  This has the most promise as the Navy has been doing DCs for cyber/IT for some time.  Maybe at some point they open this up to O-2, MAYBE O-3...but unless you are an executive of a company managing 1,000 people, I wouldn't bet on anything anytime soon for higher DC. From what I understand, if you have all of the goods, your recruiter likes you, and you meet the physical requirements, the boards happen twice a year and you're looking at maybe 7-10% selection rate.  

    2) Army changed their page Nov 28th to add "national guard" to their page for direct commissions, and lists civilians.  What's now different is their page reflects the O-2 "or higher" for your DC.  Their training is listed as a 6 week DCO course and then another 12 week BOLC (Basic Officer Leader Course).  However, at this time, the National Guard has no direction on this.  I'm working with a CW4 on this, and if anything changes, I'd like to know.  I just read an article that is a few months old that said they may be getting 11 captains in the national guard for 2022 and 10 captains in the reserves by 2024. 

    I believe in both cases, above, you're still looking at 1-2 years of training before the training wheels come off.  I don't care what your schooling is or level of leadership, there's going to be an acclimation process for anyone who does DC.  

    Pay...
    I don't care about the reserve pay.  Don't need it.  I feel many of us are in the position in IT where the money is not really a driving factor, at all, for something like this.  Where does it come into play?  When you have to go to these 6 week, 12 week, or 20 week trainings - your company does not pay you.  You will get active duty pay and BAH (varies by location).  So - me being gone for 20 weeks puts a HURT on you.  What I would suggest is to work to reduce your monthly bills and save up.  Someone like me might end up losing $1-3k per month out of my savings if I'm going to a 20 week training, or if I'm deployed.  It's something I'm not thrilled about, but I would do.  This is why it seems more appealing to get the O-3 possibly into the National Guard as opposed to the O-1 in the Navy.  That being said, either would be an honor of a lifetime to do.  

    Overall...
    You see articles, EVERYWHERE - that the armed services are dying for people in cyber/IT.  It takes them 5-10 years to train people up from the ground up.  Yet most of this hasn't hit the recruiters yet with information they can act on.  The laws have now changed to get more people in, and at higher starting ranks.  I don't care if you give me an O-1 rank, but maybe the pay scales change and I get constructive credit - so my pay might be the pay of an O-4 or the like, but my RANK is still an O-1 - this would allow me to maybe tread water if I'm deployed.  That, I could live with.  
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