ARLINGTON, Virginia (AFNS) — The first U.S. Space Force cyber officer commissioned through the Direct Commission Program graduated from Officer Training School Sept 30.
The Direct Commission Program aims to accession top talent directly from industry with a focus on Space Force cyber needs in FY22. To fill this need, the USSF hosted the Cyber Constructive Service Credit (CSC) Board in May 2022, which called for applications from civilian cyber professionals to become Space Force cyber officers.
Now-1st Lieutenant Jessica Thompson was one of six cyber professionals offered a commission out of 358 CSC applicants. She was able to commission to a higher rank and grade through the CSC program based on her advanced cyber degree, skills and experience, which are considered critical by U.S. Space Force.
“I had the opportunity to work in Information Technology with both a large defense contractor and a financial institution with one of the best cyber security programs in the country,” Thompson said. “A lot of smart people were willing to mentor me. As the Space Force builds up their cyber security programs, I’ll understand the military side of things and offer a unique perspective of next steps from my civilian background.”
The Space Force must strive to become a truly digital service by finding and engaging cyber talent in the private sector to join, according to the Guardian Ideal, the Chief Space Officer’s Human Capital Strategy Plan.
“Maintaining our competitive edge in cyberspace is critical to national security and space operations,” said Katharine Kelley, Chief of Space Operations for Personnel. “We need top talent to keep us pushing the envelope, and our force needs people from diverse personal and professional backgrounds to help us do that. The Direct Commissioning Program is an innovative way to bring the best of the best directly into to our officer ranks.”
The five other cyber officers will commission through the CSC program and attend OTS in the next fiscal year.
The USSF Direct Commission Program will incorporate all operations career fields in FY23.
Other avenues to join the USSF as an officer include the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program, offered at more than 1,100 colleges across the nation, and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
To learn more about joining the U.S. Space Force visit https://www.spaceforce.com/military-careers.
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