- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Pentagon is preparing to send a group of sailors to cyber school in hopes of turning certain members of the U.S. Navy into “certified ethical hackers.”

A solicitation that was published online last week revealed the Navy’s plans for putting 34 of its own through a Certified Ethical Hacker program next month in San Diego.

The solicitation, first spotted by NextGov, invites vendors to submit quotes concerning the expected cost of providing “high quality training services” to seamen in order for them to be accredited as “ethical hackers” by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council).

“A Certified Ethical Hacker is a skilled professional who understands and knows how to look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems and uses the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker, but in a lawful and legitimate manner to assess the security posture of a target system,” the EC-Council states on its website.

According to the solicitation, the Navy plans on sending security officers, auditors, security professionals, site administrators “and others who may be concerned about the integrity of their organizations network infrastructure” through a four-day boot camp of extensive training to be followed on day five with on-site testing.

“The curriculum should provide 20 Critical Security Controls training to a small group (34 participants) and is built on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)s [sic] National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cyber core Competencies (CCCs),” the Navy said.

The Navy’s push for accrediting its own certified hackers comes four months after the Air Force’s chief technology officer, Frank Konieczny, suggested the Pentagon should consider having contractors manage the military’s IT services instead of relying on in-house support, NextGov noted.

“We do not have enough airmen to actually do the jobs, so we’d rather buy the expertise from several contractors as opposed to training people. That’s not their mission in life,” Mr. Konieczny said at a cloud computing conference in January.

Rob Foster, the Navy’s chief information officer, said last week that one of his top priorities was ensuring the branch has “cybersolutions that deliver the first time.”

“Too often, technologies do not work in our system the first time, causing us to spend extra time and money to fix them while creating extra vulnerabilities in the process,” he said at an event Thursday, Fed Tech Magazine reported.

A month earlier, the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command announced it was offering $26 million toward a contractor capable of training service members and civilians alike in the Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command and the Navy’s own Fleet Cyber Command

More than 118,000 participants have completed the EC-Council’s certified hacker program since January 2015, the organization states on its website, including members of the Army, FBI, United Nations and others.

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