Noncommissioned officers under siege

After a decade of high op-tempo that brought significant pay raises, benefits enhancements and swift promotions, the Army’s noncommissioned officer corps is facing a slate of bad news.

Promotions are slowing, time in grade has increased, force-outs are feeding the Army’s drawdown. Staying in the Army is becoming more difficult. Soldiers can be tossed out for any number of things that were ignored during the high op-tempo days. The future doesn’t look any better. As the budget continues to shrink, the pressure to reduce the size of the Army persists. And the continuing government shutdown is just accelerating the chaos for all soldiers — particularly NCOs.

Find out how NCOs will feel the heat, and how to protect your career, in the Oct. 21 issue of the Army Times on newsstands now.

Social media, troop mobility on radar

Social media can effectively be mined for intelligence gathering, according to a report based on a nine-day experiment conducted last year in an office building in Crystal City, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. In August 2012, a few dozen civilian contractors and government employees gathered in the building to experiment on using social media and other open-source information databases for intelligence-gathering purposes.

The experiment “was successful in identifying strategies and techniques for exploiting open sources of information, particularly social media,” stated an after-action report obtained by Secrecy News and released in August. The experiment was funded by U.S. Special Operations Command and dubbed “Quantum Leap.”

Find out how SOCOM plans to transform the way operators work in this week’s issue of Army Times, on sale now.

In search of digital warriors

The Army is recruiting hundreds of computer experts for a new force of elite cyber warriors to protect the Army’s networks from sophisticated intruders.

Lt. Col. Philippe Persaud, commander of the newly minted Cyber Mission Unit (Provisional), said the service is looking for highly skilled soldiers and civilians to serve these defensive platoon-sized Cyber Protection Teams.

“We’re not just throwing bodies at the problem. We need very specific skill sets and very specific talents to bring this capability to fruition and to bear,” Persaud said

To find out how many cyber warriors the Army wants, and how you can become one, check out the Oct. 21 issue of Army Times.

Outside the Wire

Is the National Guard buying mechanical bulls during the government shutdown? Find out the real scoop in the Army Times Outside the Wire blog at

Courtesy of Army Times

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