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Coast Guard DCIO (Direct Commission Intelligence Officer)

kherr

New Member
After trying a Navy Direct Commision board for Intel competing against over 300 applicants (only 14 selected) I decided to look around some more. A lot of my Navy friends suggested I try the Coast Guard.

I was skeptical at first but was pleasantly surprised to find that the Coast Guard's Intelligence recruiting program had a much smaller playing field than the Navy.

I just completed my board for the USCG DCIO program in which only 8 people attended the board. Selection rates are also historically very high with the lowest over the last 5 years being 25% and the highest being 50%.

These numbers are probably inflated because the CG, unlike the Navy weeds out applicants who will not make the cut through more stringent application requirements. There is a pre-screening process which eliminates candidates before the board occurs. All requirements required documented proof on original copies (claim 3 years operational HUMINT experience; need documents proving you have it.)
  1. Age Limit: 41
  2. Must possess a CURRENT SSBI with SCI eligibility
  3. Completed BA in Intelligence or a STEM field. Others require pre-approval.
  4. Must pass standard Medical.
  5. Minimumof 5 DOCUMENTED years experience in HUMINT, CI, Cyber, Crypto. Others require pre-approval.
  6. Other standard military service requirements apply
Information on the USCG DCIO program can be found at USCG DCIO Program

The Coast Guard does offer DCO programs in other fields such as Engineering, Medical, and Legal as well.
 

fieldrat

Fully Qualified 1815
Just bumping this thread back to life -

USCG Cyber/Intel is hurting for manning at all levels. I just spoke with the XO of a cyber unit and they are looking to use Navy folks shipboard, and trying to sweet-talk DCO candidates to submit for USCG DCO Intel instead.

Current as of MAR '19
 

bubblehead

Registered Member
Contributor
Just bumping this thread back to life -

USCG Cyber/Intel is hurting for manning at all levels. I just spoke with the XO of a cyber unit and they are looking to use Navy folks shipboard, and trying to sweet-talk DCO candidates to submit for USCG DCO Intel instead.

Current as of MAR '19
Do it... Honestly... It's one of the best kept secrets in the military.
 

Hair Warrior

JO 1835
Contributor
This will follow for IP and CW DCO soon...
This would be a big mistake, in my opinion. Especially if the next 1825/1815 select (commissioning at O-2 or O-3) is someone who got rejected by selection boards for the past few years, and now they outrank an 1825/1815 who came in at ENS, is now still just a LTJG, and also got selected ahead of them.
 

Judge Q

Judging You
This would be a big mistake, in my opinion. Especially if the next 1825/1815 select (commissioning at O-2 or O-3) is someone who got rejected by selection boards for the past few years, and now they outrank an 1825/1815 who came in at ENS, is now still just a LTJG, and also got selected ahead of them.
Sometimes it do be like that.
 

bubblehead

Registered Member
Contributor
Forgot to mention that they will commission selected candidates up to Lieutenant/O-3 based on experience.
That is a great and smart way to attract talent.

The Navy is toying with this for cyber but it will never work in the Navy's current rank == competence culture. After I converted to IP I was part of some named IR operations and was all but ignored even though in my day job I run/ran them for multi-billion dollar clients. But, due to my rank, I had to listen to some aviator O5's and SWO O6's tell me to shut up and color while they "managed" things. Apparently, at the time and as an O3, I did not know anything.
 

Hair Warrior

JO 1835
Contributor
That is a great and smart way to attract talent.

The Navy is toying with this for cyber but it will never work in the Navy's current rank == competence culture. After I converted to IP I was part of some named IR operations and was all but ignored even though in my day job I run/ran them for multi-billion dollar clients. But, due to my rank, I had to listen to some aviator O5's and SWO O6's tell me to shut up and color while they "managed" things. Apparently, at the time and as an O3, I did not know anything.
I hear what you’re saying but I also see another side of the argument: newly minted cyber O-3/O-4s who don’t know shit about the Navy or the military, and cause more harm than good.

In my day job, I am a cyber program manager of a 50+ person, 8-figure (annually) DoD cyber contract. The team leads that I manage make up to $200k and are very good developers (“devs”), but I would be horrified if they were commissioned at O-3/O-4 and all of a sudden they’re my DIVO, AOIC, DH, etc. in a cyber or intel unit. They know little to nothing about the military, UCMJ, AUMF, ROE, joint operational planning, joint targeting, or even some basic leadership skills (not even military-related). Yet, they could be in a leadership role on day 1 and have no idea where cyber fits in the Unified Combatant Command structure. Some of them don’t have the disposition for being a naval officer. But I could see the Navy saying “oh well since they make $200k as a civilian, with 10 years of cyber work, a comparable rank is to commission them at LT or LCDR.” No. This is wrong and will cause problems.

If you want a concrete reason why it won’t work, I’ll give you one: malpractice. Doctors, dentists, nurses, and JAG can commission at higher ranks. They also have doctoral degrees and have a civilian license to practice medicine/law - which can be taken away if they commit medical malpractice or legal malpractice. There is no such thing as cyber malpractice. If you’re a shitty developer or shitty network engineer, and you do shitty work that gets systems compromised and/or gets people killed, no impartial review board will come along and take away your right to “practice cyber” professionally anymore. A bad mis-hire by the DCO selection board can’t be corrected or undone.

My point is, off-the-street cyber direct commission officers need those four years at ENS and LTJG to figure out the military and their place within it. You’d be doing them - and all other IWC JOs/Chiefs who would serve directly under or alongside them - a huge disservice by shorting them those early years to learn, absorb, and make mistakes.
 
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Reservist

Well-Known Member
I hear what you’re saying but I also see another side of the argument: newly minted cyber O-3/O-4s who don’t know shit about the Navy or the military, and cause more harm than good.

In my day job, I am a cyber program manager of a 50+ person, 8-figure (annually) DoD cyber contract. The team leads that I manage make up to $200k and are very good developers (“devs”), but I would be horrified if they were commissioned at O-3/O-4 and all of a sudden they’re my DIVO, AOIC, DH, etc. in a cyber or intel unit. They know little to nothing about the military, UCMJ, AUMF, ROE, joint operational planning, joint targeting, or even some basic leadership skills (not even military-related). Yet, they could be in a leadership role on day 1 and have no idea where cyber fits in the Unified Combatant Command structure. Some of them don’t have the disposition for being a naval officer. But I could see the Navy saying “oh well since they make $200k as a civilian, with 10 years of cyber work, a comparable rank is to commission them at LT or LCDR.” No. This is wrong and will cause problems.

If you want a concrete reason why it won’t work, I’ll give you one: malpractice. Doctors, dentists, nurses, and JAG can commission at higher ranks. They also have doctoral degrees and have a civilian license to practice medicine/law - which can be taken away if they commit medical malpractice or legal malpractice. There is no such thing as cyber malpractice. If you’re a shitty developer or shitty network engineer, and you do shitty work that gets systems compromised and/or gets people killed, no impartial review board will come along and take away your right to “practice cyber” professionally anymore. A bad mis-hire by the DCO selection board can’t be corrected or undone.

My point is, off-the-street cyber direct commission officers need those four years at ENS and LTJG to figure out the military and their place within it. You’d be doing them - and all other IWC JOs/Chiefs who would serve directly under or alongside them - a huge disservice by shorting them those early years to learn, absorb, and make mistakes.
I see a lot of wisdom in what you are saying. You always strike me as thoughtful and reasonable. I think you make great points as to why this program is not a great idea.

But - I have a twist on this program and - just curious to hear what you think a bit - What about folks that have a strong military background, exemplary service records, but lack cyber training? Let's call it more redesignation?

For example - I'm mid career civilian wise and looking at doing a masters and possible PhD in Cyber Security over the next 2-5 years. (Long story - but my wife works at a nice big name university in the Northeast and I can do the Master's free).

I'm a lawyer currently - but they have an align program for people that don't have science degrees.

I've also got 9 years enlisted and will commission as an 1835 any day now.

I think that paths for people like me to jump a few steps in the military rank structure with retraining might be a good idea too - I'd be more than willing to jump to O-4 or beyond and work full time for the Navy or another branch after completing my degree.

I suspect there's a bigger group of folks out there like me than one might think. People that are very well suited and prepared to lead that really just need some skills training for the new designator.

I fully admit I have not cyber experience and I will not take it personally if you say this is a terrible idea. I am curious to hear your perspective though.

I still have to figure out how to get some hands on cyber experience too - but I bet there are a lot of prior and current service people out there that are prepared to step into O-3 or O-4 and beyond on day one - they just need to redeisignate and train for cyber.

R/,

Eric
 

fieldrat

Fully Qualified 1815
For better or worse, the Navy (Reserve) just isn't set up to handle instant senior JO's. Mostly due to not having enough stick to balance the carrot (my $0.02). From an active duty stand point, an IWC O-4 is working toward career millstone markers and command AQD's, in addition to being a major DH, or staff. On the NAVRES side, it's the same thing minus sea duty rotation. That's a pretty extensive Todo list without adding on, "How do I route a chit again?"

That last bit is hyperbole, but makes the point.

Much of what makes you effective is your professional network. It takes time and opportunity to meet and work with the folks who will one day be on the other end of the phone giving you the assist on short notice as a professional courtesy.

That's enough for now.
 

Hair Warrior

JO 1835
Contributor
Thanks @Reservist Eric. Congrats on your selection!

I will sum it up this way: Your JO years are the most fun, where you get to do the cool work and still be hands-on.

As @fieldrat noted, the hinge years and above are less fun due to paperwork and taking assignments you need to keep progressing. Keep in mind, if you commission at O-3 or O-4 and FOS x2 at your first promo opportunity, your Navy Reserve career will be far shorter.

Why the rush?
 
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