The Few, The Proud... the Marine Corps Cyber Auxiliary

SoCalGuy858SoCalGuy858 CISSP, GCIH, GSEC, Project+The TriangleMember Posts: 149 ■■■□□□□□□□
"MARINE CORPS ESTABLISHES VOLUNTEER CYBER AUXILIARY TO INCREASE CYBERSPACE READINESS
May / 13 / 2019
Washington, D.C. --

The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, announced last month the establishment of the Marine Corps Cyber Auxiliary (Cyber Aux), a volunteer organization aimed at increasing Marine Corps cyberspace readiness. The Cyber Aux is comprised of a small cadre of highly-talented cyber experts who train, educate, advise, and mentor Marines to keep pace with constantly-evolving cyber challenges.

The Cyber Aux assists in simulated environments and during periods of instruction, but are not authorized to execute hands-on cyber activities. Qualified volunteers must be US citizens with advanced cyber experience and will be screened and assessed before assignment to a specified unit or project. Cyber Aux members do not wear a uniform nor need to meet the Marine Corps physical fitness and grooming standards.

The Cyber Aux is part of the larger Marine Corps effort to better posture forces to conduct Operations in the Information Environment and is managed by the Deputy Commandant for Information, Lt. Gen. Lori E. Reynolds.

This is all the information currently available for release at this time. In the near future there will be opportunities for media to engage with Marine Corps leadership to learn more about plans for the Marine Corps Cyber Auxiliary. If you are interested in participating, please email [email protected].

Highly qualified talent should email [email protected] for more information or to begin volunteering with the Marines."

(Link to official article on Marines.mil.)  (Additional link to the landing page for the Cyber Aux.)

There have been plenty of discussions / proposals on things like this in the past (even the active formation of a "Cyber Reserve" in the UK).  I've been a member of the Air Force Auxiliary for the past 14 years, as well as the Coast Guard Auxiliary for a few years, and it wasn't until just recently that one of them (Coast Guard Auxiliary) started doing something like this.  It just seems odd to see the Marines jumping on this bandwagon!

I sent them an e-mail to see what's up and got a response back the same day requesting my resume and forwarding some basic FAQs (below).  As someone who has wanted to join the military in some capacity since childhood but never could due to medical reasons, this looks pretty cool.  You don't go through any initial entry training, nor are you considered a Marine, but it sounds as if they'll work closely.  From my understanding, it sounds like they will be security awareness advisers/advocates in some fashion. 

What is the Marine Corps Cyber Auxiliary (Cyber Aux)?
The Marine Corps Cyber Auxiliary is a small volunteer cadre of highly-talented, diverse cyber experts who share their knowledge and expertise to assist Marines in responding to constantly-evolving cyber challenges.  

What duties will an Auxiliarist perform?
Auxiliarists fulfill training, educating, advising, and mentoring roles alongside Marines in simulated environments and during periods of instruction, but are not authorized to execute hands-on cyber activities.   Volunteer opportunities may be available at specific Marine Corps units based on a unit's particular need, but at no time will an Auxiliarist be required
to perform a specific service.   

Will an Auxiliarist be required to travel? If so, will travel costs be paid?
Auxiliarists may be asked to support a specific unit based on that unit's particular need.  If travel is required, all travel costs including transportation, hotel, meals, and incidentals, are paid by the Marine Corps.

How much time is required of an Auxiliarist?
The Cyber Aux is an all-volunteer program so individual support is based on an Auxiliarist's availability and willingness to support.  Duration of projects will vary based on a particular need and the type of support requested.  

Is a security clearance required? 
Auxiliarists are not required to possess a security clearance; however, an appropriate-level interview may be required for specific projects.  Security information specific to a volunteer's expertise will be discussed during the screening process.   

How long is the screening and assessment process?
The screening and assessment process takes approximately 2-4 weeks to complete. Emails will be sent periodically to keep applicants informed.


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Comments

  • kaijukaiju Member Posts: 422 ■■■■■■□□□□
    The Corps needs more "civilian" information to assist with defense of cyber attacks so it can get a better understanding of attack vectors and how to properly mitigate the issue/incident. However, the lack of a security clearance requirement means the Cyber Aux will not be able to do much during simulated environments. Rarely, and I am talking unicorn rare, will you see an unclassified "only" simulation/training and even unclass simulations will require at least a NACL and a "need to know" because of potential issues with aggregation of information.

    I sent an email and will submit my resume when requested. Mentoring and assessing are my hobbies... lol
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  • SoCalGuy858SoCalGuy858 CISSP, GCIH, GSEC, Project+ The TriangleMember Posts: 149 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I sent my resume back to them yesterday -- so hopefully I'll hear back.  It would be really cool to be able to do my part in something like this, even if it is as simple as being a generalized security awareness advocate.

    Sounds like the need for more civilian-side information is common all across the .gov-side.  I've got a meeting this morning with reps from DHS CISA to see how we (private industry within one of the DHS Critical Infrastructure Sectors) can leverage their Cyber Information Sharing and Collaboration Program (CISCP) and Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS) programs to boost our small, but growing, internal threat intelligence efforts.  Hopefully some good stuff comes out of it!


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  • yoba222yoba222 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,207 ■■■■■■■■□□
    My opinion is not an attack on you guys' generosity in volunteering for this. That said, I'm a little embarrassed as a US citizen by this to be honest.

    Why don't the Marines just cough up the funds to do this right? A volunteer organization to mentor. . . you mean like what we sometimes do for underprivileged inner city kids or with coding bootcamps for West Virginia coal miners? But here we are applying the same logic to allegedly the best military on the planet . . . this isn't right. The Marines have a reputation for having the lowest budget to get things done out of all the branches, but come on -- pay a fair wage; don't beg.

    This is the sort of thing I might expect from a third world nation like the Philippines, who often use yahoo email addresses to communicate professionally (ahem Colonel Guloy).

    I'm probably being too harsh.


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  • kaijukaiju Member Posts: 422 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Well as a USMC veteran I have absolutely no issues with volunteering my time. But shouldn't you be griping about the other services, like the big budget USAF, that are doing the same?

    This volunteer cadre will be small and comprised of personnel who want to help the Corps and other military organizations to become more secure. Remember, this is a not a 24/7/365 deal but rather a cybersecurity "camping trip" for people who do not mind helping.
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  • SoCalGuy858SoCalGuy858 CISSP, GCIH, GSEC, Project+ The TriangleMember Posts: 149 ■■■□□□□□□□
    yoba222 said:
    My opinion is not an attack on you guys' generosity in volunteering for this. That said, I'm a little embarrassed as a US citizen by this to be honest.

    Why don't the Marines just cough up the funds to do this right? A volunteer organization to mentor. . . you mean like what we sometimes do for underprivileged inner city kids or with coding bootcamps for West Virginia coal miners? But here we are applying the same logic to allegedly the best military on the planet . . . this isn't right. The Marines have a reputation for having the lowest budget to get things done out of all the branches, but come on -- pay a fair wage; don't beg.

    This is the sort of thing I might expect from a third world nation like the Philippines, who often use yahoo email addresses to communicate professionally (ahem Colonel Guloy).

    I'm probably being too harsh.


    Yoba -- definitely not received as an attack... I agree with you!  There's quite a bit that the DoD (and .gov as a whole) can do to legitimately boost these efforts, and this is just a band aid on a torn artery.  As someone who is barred from military service for medical reasons - yet as wanted to serve since childhood - I'm still going to do what I can!  (I'd love to see the DoD re-evaluate deployment methodologies for cyber units and medical requirements for cyber roles.  I'm not trying to be a SOF guy or even an average grunt, but I'm still not eligible to even hold a desk job!)
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  • kaijukaiju Member Posts: 422 ■■■■■■□□□□
    edited May 2019
    The USMC actually has a dedicated cyber command that is composed of Marines, Federal employees and contractors. It never hurts to get more insight.

    Unlike the other services, every Marine is a rifleman so even Marines with IT/Cyber related MOS (job specialty) are expected to be combat ready at all times. This is why the Corps does not accept personnel who cannot be deployed to "hot" areas.

    I think this is a "test group" type fielding exercise. Who knows, this Cyber Aux initiative could transpire into real jobs for volunteers who are deemed to be essential to the readiness of the Corps.
    Work smarter NOT harder! Semper Gumby!
  • SoCalGuy858SoCalGuy858 CISSP, GCIH, GSEC, Project+ The TriangleMember Posts: 149 ■■■□□□□□□□
    kaiju said:
    The USMC actually has a dedicated cyber command that is composed of Marines, Federal employees and contractors. It never hurts to get more insight.

    Unlike the other services, every Marine is a rifleman so even Marines with IT/Cyber related MOS (job specialty) are expected to be combat ready at all times. This is why the Corps does not accept personnel who cannot be deployed to "hot" areas.

    I think this is a "test group" type fielding exercise. Who knows, this Cyber Aux initiative could transpire into real jobs for volunteers who are deemed to be essential to the readiness of the Corps.
    Most definitely -- and I think that's probably one of their primary goals. "Public-private" partnership and all that jazz... to a similar tune as InfraGard, etc., except maybe a bit more "in depth".  

    Totally understand the medical disqualification aspect with the Marines, as well, but in my case, it's unfortunately any branch, including the Coast Guard!  Keeping my eyes on civilian work in the future, but unfortunately, there aren't any opportunities in my area without increasing my already insane 1+ hour commute!
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  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I think it's a step in the right direction and can definitely provide them with insights that perhaps they don't see.  In my time in the private sector I've seen things and used technology that is just now hitting the public sector.

    At the same time, I've always been of the mind of another branch being brought up and used for cyber defense/attack.  A Cyber National Guard as it were, with the same military bearing, but without the bootcamp.  Obviously, those in the military will really not be on-board with it, but put aside the "300 pound guy who lives in his parent's basement" and think more to those who are either disable is some fashion or really would be a waste to the military.  Obviously they wouldn't receive the same benefits, but it would allow for a focus on cybersecurity.  One weekend a month, two weeks a year and having to be called up when needed.  Already possessing a technical background would be required though.

    They'll have full time jobs where they do this work for a living and who focus on it during their service days/weeks.  I've had a number of friends who were in the Army National Guard (and Reserves) in various IT positions who if they weren't deployed did no IT work.  Even when deployed, as stated above, you are a Soldier/Sailor/Marine first and could just as easily be given some duty other than the one they trained for.  

    Something definitely needs to be done because we are sitting ducks and while I hate to use an overhyped phrase, cyber Pearl Harbor is definitely a possibility.
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  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Does anyone know if it's a real program or just PR fodder? I had sent an email to inquire about a week and a half ago. So far just crickets.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Sounds like standard government response times :) at my agency you don't hear from us for at least a month
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  • SoCalGuy858SoCalGuy858 CISSP, GCIH, GSEC, Project+ The TriangleMember Posts: 149 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I got a response from them the next business day providing those details/FAQs and asking for my resume, but nothing since.
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  • SoCalGuy858SoCalGuy858 CISSP, GCIH, GSEC, Project+ The TriangleMember Posts: 149 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Update -- Just received this in e-mail:

    "Good Morning,

    We have had an overwhelming response to the Marine Corps Cyber Auxiliary and appreciate your patience. At this time, our schedulers have started reaching out to highly qualified individuals to schedule initial interviews. We ask for continued patience as we continue processing the hundreds of resumes received from experts in the cyber community that want to participate in this amazing program.

    Semper Fidelis,

    Cyber Auxiliary Staff"
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  • kaijukaiju Member Posts: 422 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Just checking to see if anybody else was contacted recently.....
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  • SoCalGuy858SoCalGuy858 CISSP, GCIH, GSEC, Project+ The TriangleMember Posts: 149 ■■■□□□□□□□
    kaiju said:
    Just checking to see if anybody else was contacted recently.....
    I was contacted for the next steps shortly after I posted my last contact from them, but I ended up declining due to a new career shift I’m taking.  Doing a quick search on LinkedIn, there are Auxiliary volunteers starting to pop up, so that may help to give others a good picture of backgrounds they look for.
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