Active Guard and Reserve officers and warrant officers can for the first time apply for a voluntary transfer to the Army's cyber branch.
Officers and warrant officers who want to make the jump to cyber must act fast. The deadline is Feb. 10 for warrant officers to apply for the AGR 170A Warrant Officer cyber branch transfer and for officers to apply for the AGR 17A transfer.
Warrant officers must be in grades 1 through chief warrant officer 4. Officers must be in the ranks of captain through colonel. Captains must have at least three years time in grade.
This first-ever voluntary transfer for AGR officers and warrant officers into cyber is "part of HRC's mission of getting the right soldier in the right position at the right time to meet the needs of the Army," David Ruderman, spokesman for Human Resources Command, told Army Times on Wednesday.
Officers and warrant officers will be selected for transfer to the cyber branch by panels that convene Feb. 27.
Results are expected to be announced March 24.
The transfer program for AGR warrant officers is detailed in Military Personnel Message 17-025. The program for AGR officers is outlined in MILPER Message 17-026.
Candidates should have strengths in at least one of these three areas:
- High-end technical expertise and/or significant cyber-related accomplishments outside of mandatory military education.
- Significant operational leadership or experience, preferably with some technical linkage.
- Unique experience from diverse backgrounds or educational paths that indicate creativity, intellectual curiosity, problem solving, and/or academic excellence.
AGR applicants should also have a "deep interest in and passion for" the cyberspace domain, propensity for self development and improvement, and proven ability to work as a contributing member of a team, either as a team leader or team member, according to the MILPER messages.
Army cyber is a total Army force, with Army Reserve and Army National Guard cyber warriors fully integrated into cyberspace operations, said Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, who took command of Army Cyber Command and Second Army in October.
Those who want to apply must meet these requirements to be eligible:
- Be an AGR warrant officer 1 through chief warrant officer 4, or an AGR officer in ranks of senior captain through colonel.
- Be able to obtain and maintain a top-secret security clearance and sensitive compartmentalized information (SCI) eligibility. A TS/SCI security clearance is required for warrant officers prior to attending the 170A Warrant Officer Basic Course or Warrant Officer Advanced Course and for officers attending the 17A Cyber Basic Officer Leader Course (CBOLC), Cyber Operations Officer Course or Cyber Captains Career Course. Those not required to attend a 17A course must get the clearance to be awarded the area of concentration.
- Pass a counterintelligence scope polygraph (CSP) before being awarded the MOS 170A or AOC 17A, and pass subsequent polygraphs to hold the MOS or AOC.
Those who have Cyber Mission Force training and experience should be able to document it as part of the cyber branch questionnaire, including certification records. CMF experience is helpful but not required.
Other preferred experience includes programming and software development.
For officers, preferred degrees include, at minimum, a bachelor’s of science or higher degree in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, information technology, information systems, information assurance/cyber security, or mathematics.
For details on criteria for transfer to cyber, warrant officers should read the draft 170A section and officers should see the draft 17A section of DA PAM 600-3, according to the MILPER messages.
Officers may request branch transfer if they are within six months of completing their initial three-year AGR tour.
Who's not eligible:
There are some who are not eligible for transfer. They include officers or warrant officers who serve as active-duty, Army National Guard or Reserve non-AGR warrant officers, or AGR officers controlled by the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Chaplain Corps, Army Medical Department or Medical Service.
Also not eligible are officers who have undergone or are pending an unfavorable action including Uniform Code Military Justice (UCMJ) action or received a general-officer letter or memorandum of reprimand (GOLOR/GOMOR); were selected by a separation board; received a referred Officer Evaluation Report or Academic Evaluation Report; or do not meet Army physical fitness or Army body composition standards under AR 600-9.
If you are selected:
- You have at least 12 months time on station before transfer. Warrant officers and officers on three-year continental U.S. tours must finish the tour or get approval to cut it short.
- You will transfer to the new branch effective on the date on the transfer notice. If you do not yet have a TS/SCI, the branch transfer will take place when the clearance is received.
- Warrant officers and officers will have the option to accept or decline the transfer, and if they decline they will stay in their current branch and wait one year before they request transfer again.
- Warrant officers will receive training as directed by the 170A assignment officer or career manager at Human Resources Command.
- Selected officers will be required to attend the Cyber Basic Officer Leader Course, Cyber Operations Officer Course or Cyber Captains Career Course at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Major through colonel will not need to attend any additional training before transition to 17A.
The MILPER messages have details on how to apply, and how soldiers will be selected. For information, see the Human Resources Command website at
Kathleen Curthoys is editor of Army Times. She has been an editor at Military Times for 20 years, covering issues that affect service members. She previously worked as an editor and staff writer at newspapers in Columbus, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; Bloomington, Indiana; Monterey, California and in Germany.