The Army cyber protection teams need simple tools with better training capabilities, the teams’ project manager told Fifth Domain.

In an interview Oct. 15 at the 2019 Association of the United States Army conference, Col. Chad Harris, project manager for Defensive Cyber Operations at the Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, shared what his teams are looking for in the new tools that it adds.

“This goes back to tools that are intuitive [and] are easy to use and easy to train on,” said Harris.

Harris said he “continuously” talks to industry about these needs.

“When you give us a tool, make sure you’re looking at is this thing user friendly,” Harris said. “Does it have automation involved and does it make it easy for that soldier to pick it up and learn it in a short period of time? Does it have a training package that goes along with it that allows us to quickly deploy the tool?”

Part of the need for easy-to-use tools stems from the cyber workforce shortage, he added — a problem throughout the private and public sector that is also affecting the work of the cyber protection teams.

“Their time is valuable,” Harris said. “So the training has got to be targeted. They’ve got to be able to train quickly and they’ve got to be able to train wherever they need to train at.”

He also said that new tools need to come with a training package. Harris said that the training needs to be “tailorable” and “specific” to the needs of each individual — not require 40 hours per week in the classroom.

“We’ve got to be able to train virtually; we’ve got to be able to train live,” Harris said. “And we’ve got to have those training sessions off hours. And we’ve also got to have that training available or that help available for them 24/7, 365 [days a year].”

Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

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