Complex computer networks. The tactical systems they control. The vital infrastructures they support. All are under siege by enemies seeking to steal information or sabotage capabilities. Engineers specialized in the ever-evolving field of cyber warfare help develop ways to thwart such threats.
Cyberspace is commonly understood to be the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers. This is the world that Cyber Warfare Engineering (CWE) Officers work to control and protect. These highly technical computer scientists and computer engineers develop tools and techniques in the information environment that ensure situational awareness, provide defense against attacks and deliver tactical advantages.
Serving as Officers (four-year degree required), CWE Officers are leaders in the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) – a group of highly specialized information experts fully integrated across surface, subsurface, air, space and cyberspace domains. With shared functions, capabilities and resources, IDC members leverage their skills to optimize decision making and to maximize the use of sensors, weapons, network communications and control systems for purposes of national security and warfighting.
As a Cyber Warfare Engineer, you will apply principles and techniques of computer science and computer engineering to research, design, develop, test and evaluate software and firmware for computer network attack, exploitation and defense in Cyberspace Operations. Those serving in this role also have responsibility for overseeing the work of Cryptologic Technicians – Enlisted Sailors (no degree required) who serve as specialists in different areas of cryptology.
Cyber Warfare Engineers serve in challenging roles that are designed to leverage their expertise in Computer Network Operations. They typically serve at a shore-based Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC).
Training & Advancement
Those pursuing a Cyber Warfare Engineering position are required to attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, R.I. Upon completion, CWE Officers can expect to be initially assigned to a Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) at Fort Meade, Md., or Suitland, Md. There they will be afforded the opportunity to complete a wide array of National Cryptologic School courses as well as specific on-the-job training.
In the course of service, specialized training received could lead to credentialing and/or certification opportunities from a number of national boards and organizations. Promotion opportunities are regularly available but are competitive and based on performance.
Beyond professional credentials and certifications, Cyber Warfare Engineers can advance their education through the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Navy (SOCNAV) Degree Program, by pursuing opportunities at institutions such as Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) or Navy War College (NWC), and by completing Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) at one of the various service colleges.
Like most positions, promotions depend upon your performance and time in service. Navy Officers are rewarded with excellent benefits – including a competitive salary and opportunities to earn additional pay for special duty.
A four-year degree is required to work as a Cyber Warfare Engineer. Candidates seeking an Officer position in this community must have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering from one of the more than 150 National Security Agency (NSA) Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE).
All candidates must also be U.S. citizens and eligible for a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) security clearance.
After the Navy
The specialized training and expertise you gain as a Cyber Warfare Engineer, coupled with your security clearance, may prepare you for a wide range of job opportunities available within the U.S. Intelligence Community, including future employment with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Other career opportunities in the civilian sector include work as Computer and Information Systems Managers, Computer Systems Engineers/Architects, Information Security Analysts and Network and Computer Systems Administrators.
Consider Your Service Options.
There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America’s Navy. Besides full-time opportunities in Active Duty, part-time Reserve positions are also available in this career area.