Defense Digital Service, Army Open New Cyber Training Center Dubbed Tatooine

Flickr user Antonio Hidalgo

The new collaboration space will be used to pilot new solutions and help train and retain future cyber soldiers.

The Army’s cyber training center at Fort Gordon, Georgia, is getting a new collaboration space intended to bring together the branch’s top tech talent, Defense Department innovators and the private-sector technologists to solve the biggest issue in cybersecurity: the workforce.

Members of the Army’s cyber brigade—dubbed ARCYBER—and leaders from the Defense Digital Service were in Augusta Thursday to announce the opening of a new workspace “designed to house tech teams, cultivate talent, and promote innovative ways to solve mission challenges,” according to a department release.

Following the DDS’ clear affection for the Star Wars films, the space is being called “Tatooine,” a reference to the desert planet that was the adoptive home of Luke Skywalker.

“Tatooine will be a beacon for technical talent across the military—a place to write code and solve problems of impact,” DDS Director Chris Lynch said at the unveiling event Thursday. “Together, men and women in uniform and tech nerds are finding new ways to rapidly solve high-impact challenges.”

At the center, soldiers and DDS technologists will work together on several pilot programs—collectively known internally as “Jyn Erso,” another Star Wars reference—that will both help the department in its warfighting efforts and train the soldiers to adapt and respond to future needs and problems. The first of these pilots will focus on drone detection, active hunting of cyber threats on Defense Department networks and designing better training systems for cyber soldiers.

“To help the Army resolve its toughest talent management and technical challenges, DDS and U.S. Army Cyber Command have partnered to bring technically-gifted soldiers together with private sector civilian talent to rapidly develop immediate-need cyber capabilities,” ARCYBER Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty said. “This innovative partnership will solve tough problems and serve as a powerful retention and recruitment tool.”

Military personnel interested in joining these or other pilots can sign up through a special Google Hire portal created for the program.

Along with the ARCYBER-DDS collaboration, the space will also be used to work with academia and industry through programs like the Hack the Army bug bounty program and the Civilian Hiring-as-a-Service pilot that looks to add more tech-focused civilian talent into the Army’s ranks by streamlining the hiring process.

“Technology has become the new domain for warfare,” Lynch said. “Recruiting, supporting and retaining technical talent in the military can present unique challenges from training to compensation to ensuring opportunities for growth and engagement in a quickly evolving field.”

In commemoration of the news, the state of Georgia declared Oct. 25, 2018 as “Defense Digital Service Day,” according to the department release.