How do you see cyber workforce existing within the current SERCAT system, will there be a requirement for AIRN and the like?
It is an open answer.
It could be facilitated from SERCAT 5, which surges your reserve positions served from a part time perspective.
It is feasible to look at SERCAT 4. SERCAT 4 is previously being sort of higher readiness reserve part time where you're on call. There is also another side of SERCAT 4 which really looks at areas of high national demand, and a good example might be doctors or medics, where they are getting most of their skills commercially. Yet at points, in time will be required to support medical cases or acts or the like from an exercise perspective or from an operational perspective, and they're called in for that responsibility.
It also would be feasible to do this from a SERCAT 3 perspective. It would very much depend on who the individual is, and what role they are looking at filling, or we confine for them to fill on the Army side, and that will land us towards one of those service categories. I think that answers a couple of the questions around one of the different circumstances.
How much would circumstances of discharge matter?
We'll just need to look case by case, and that's what I mean by presenting the data to Army to help make decisions, but it's pretty open. It would depend.
There is consistent policy in terms of rehiring people that have previously concluded their full time service, but what we're finding with their existing policy framework is that we're able to navigate through it if we have a good example, and an end state, and able to clearly articulate what the value proposition is from an individual, and then from an organisational perspective.
So, if there is a circumstance where someone left because they had a bad knee, but there is definite skill in terms of their ability to contribute back to army from their current training in cyber or something like that, then the new role is what they're assessed against, not their previous ACN and their last role, and that comes down to that value proposition of what is the skill set? Is it in high national demands? It's going to be very individualistic, based just as the circumstance of them leaving.
Who decides on the decision for which veterans to get a job in cyber? Will this involve private recruitment agencies?
There's no recruitment companies involved in this. WithYouWithMe is presenting the data, which is why you're opting into Army, and Army will make the decisions based on skill availability, requirements from your profile if you like, your cyber profile in the platform, so there's no one getting paid per head or anything like that.
This is about connecting the two pipelines together to provide capability back to Australia really, and further on that it is that there’s 18 different units commanding officers that are involved in phase one of our trial, and in order to ensure that we were not just operating internal to a Canberra bubble and imposing a measure of change like this on the provinces, what we opted to do was to partner in order to obtain some support, and that is where WithYouWithMe, for simple things, like hosting a webinar in this sort of fashion, and giving some resources to the actual units so that they can work through their own unique problem, reframe their thinking and get some horse power into this.
So the units are having to do it out of hide effectively and that's where some of the psychometric testing and the matching aspect of this is actually taking some of the clunkiness out about previous engagements with the contingent workforce, which has been a real barrier to entry for some people because it's been very Army job orientated rather than people focused. So we're trying to invert that paradigm.
Is this more oriented to targeting people with existing extensive IT backgrounds?
For the trial, we're looking for people who are working in a role in industry and have some level of cyber or IT security experience, or try and articulate what that level is.
However, the long term vision is, people are going to be coming into that pipeline and learning skills and wanting to opt in and contribute, and those absolutely on the table for discussions, but we need to use cases right now. So they are to get quick wins to demonstrate the value to Army. We're looking for those people that are in those roles with those skills.
If it’s veterans that have not previously operated in the cyberspace, but are interested to start, that's where this is a sort of a complementary program to a number of the existing talent pipelines for cyber from an employment category perspective, or from a cyber operative perspective. They exist, and we can help close the information gap pointed in the right direction, link you up to a stream or a recruitment methodology or rehire methodology that will be more suited to your circumstances rather than you trying to navigate it effectively alone from the outside.
Would there be availability to work remotely? Such as the current cyber reservist at 138 SIG SQN are doing?
Absolutely. I think that there is scope for it, and the range of work is we don't have half a dozen specific jobs or anything like that in mind. This is really about understanding firstly: what's the depth of talent that actually exists? Who's interested and how can they contribute? And then we'll go hunting for for the roles and the ways to unlock that potential and that could most certainly be from a remote perspective and that's where we're looking for hosting a number of the exercises and the training and a few other things actually online, so that the community can still be built, and effective training could be obtained or experiences obtained, and then that may then influence future decisions of placement for working on unlock future opportunities.
How do you want to tackle the online check-in/ going to a base and reporting into a physical pc? What is the employment intent? Is it via a reservist/cfts model?
I would say that this program is commensurate or complementary to all other existing programs that are going on to help solve the cyber workforce challenges. It's not replacing any or trying to overshadow any, and the online check-in is kind of down on the job. So this would happen after Army has decided to offer you a piece of work that is contingent based. You would then align to your normal processes that the job role would expect of you as a worker in that capacity.
So just to kind of expand on it, I think a lot of people kind of questioning is a little bit, and I know the SIG unit is currently trying to do this at the moment as well, in terms of logging into streams and doing all the work they need to be done from that aspect, and a lot of people here, particularly where they're currently out, they don't want to be moving around too much. So that whole reporting… I was going to say roll calls is probably a bad way to describe it, but doing up online, so we can do the rest of our work from wherever it needs in this kind of working from home situation.
I guess from our lived experience through this, like my whole data team have all worked from home for the last 3.5 months, and I've only seen them once or twice in the office, but there's been clear, tangible outcomes that they were asked to deliver, and they delivered it. I think it's less orientated around some of the typical control measures that may be in place that you may have experienced in previous service, and that very much comes down to if your particular circumstances of availability would preclude you from being physically on site for something that's just part of the discussion as we step through placement to make sure that the right body of work goes your way. We're not asking you to do something that you physically are unable to do.
What are the baseline skill requirements?
I think that’s definitely part of the discussion and our approach to it has been that we're open for any and all of the above. Part of the trial is supplementary training funds. We haven't allocated them anywhere in particular yet. It's part of the framing side of this problem. What is the right training for the right person to be able to do the right job at the right time? It's less about you must have done course A, and then you must do course B, and then you will do course C, and then you're valuable for us for a job that we advertised six months ago. It's really got to be about the individuals and the people that are part of this for it to be scalable and effective.
We have a number of training continuums that exist with these courses needed to be completed, and this subject course needed to be completed, this promotion course needed to be completed. So this just compliments what is out there, but it depends on your unique skills and experience is what you need.
The program is kind of doing it a mix of both in terms of the online and on base check-ins, particularly for some of the work that would need to be done from a forensic level. If the program is asking people to do serious forensics work from home, you're going to have to stop supplementing people's power bill.
We really want to keep the conversation about matching talent and skills to what Army needs, not so much about how Army's going to turn around and revise it. We’re really about the workforce side of things and demonstrating what exists in industry to help inform Army to make a lot of those decisions.
What options are available for current serving members in cyber?
About current serving members who might be thinking about cyber as an opportunity and what options they have available. So there is a number of opportunities to court transfer. There's a number of intakes that they're going to incur over the coming year into various different ACN's view.
To do that, there's some emerging work from a policy perspective where you may be able to contribute in this space without going through court transfer. If you have resident skills that you required some other way, so yes that's probably better for a follow up perspective posting information and pointed in the right direction as to where you might go to to find out from a current serving perspective.
Do serving members need security clearance? Does location matter for the program?
The question about security clearances will play that case by case, depending on what you currently have based on your skill set based on Army need, and then if Army wants to offer you contingent work because they want your skill set, then there's probably a conversation that happen around security clearances and how they can support with that. It certainly won't be a blanket that everybody on the program is going to get said anything, and that kind of talk to the question about work locations.
So regardless of where you are, you should be opting in and demonstrating your skills and your passion about being part of the program. And then, hopefully that will inform in line with Paul's comments about remote work and help plug in what things were available to you. So it's not restricted at all.
Do opportunities come from any service?
Yes, they can. There are existing mechanisms for this. Is that clunky? Yes. Do we need more examples in order to fine tune that value stream? Absolutely.
How does pay work?
Pay is an interesting one where Army doesn't have a great degree of freedom to manoeuvre, but what we do need to do is inform the next iteration that goes to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal. If we think we have a pay impediment to exploring or scaling something like this, and there's some examples, where may have left an Infantry Lance Corporal, you've been in the industry for seven or eight years, and the value proposition of coming back to do this sort of work at an experienced level or mid to senior level, doesn't necessarily correlate well with your current ACN. There are some mechanisms, but really other than broadly saying that there are some mechanisms to look at additional compensation. It really depends on a case by case and what the value proposition is, but working our way through those over 12 to 18 month time period through some good examples could make the difference in the medium to longer term because we can influence through the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal and actually change policy in the pay structure of critical or skill sets of national critical interest.
And so remember I spoke about we're also working with industry, so some of you may be working inside companies that are also supporting the program from an organisational level, and there's a separate conversation the Army's having with those organisations about how they keep your remuneration going. If you're called upon to work with Army and you can't do your day job similar to a normal reserve capacity. So it works both ways.
If you're a foreign service officer with the current Australian security clearance, could you do the program?
We routinely bring people from other countries into the Australian Army. We have a whole lateral recruitment capability. Again, it’s very individualistic. It depends on the individual in the value proposition, but there is a well defined path and we could most certainly introduce you to the start of that journey.
Is the program for current serving reservists?
My advice to you to keep it really simple is opt into this, and then when we get the details from you about your current circumstance, you might be more appropriate for one of the other existing funnels, and Army can look at putting you into that funnel. It is probably the easiest way to think about.
Does the program require any RPL and previous experience in cyber?
I guess your question applies to any sorts of skills to keep it really simple.
We're going to ask you to tell us what your current job is, what your current skill set is, any important certifications you have that in cyber, IT security or IT related that might be relevant.
So then we can build a picture from a broad data point of view for Army to say, look, as an example, you need lots of threat hunters. Here's a bunch of people in industry that have the skills. Would you like to access them? How would you like to do it? And then we can connect the dots, as just a very broad example. So any way in which you can present yourself when we ask you for your details that shows your current skill set and experience is what we're really asking for.
Is the program about the merit list?
It's less about a merit list, more about matching skill, location availability to jobs as they become available over time, because as you would appreciate, you might not be available, even though you're the perfect match for that job when it becomes about.
Are you looking for current serving members that have cyber experience?
Yes, we are looking for current serving veterans that have cyber experience from streams or industry that weren't of Army’s making. So that is one aspect. And the other aspect is we have a larger volume of contingent workforce who have drifted away from Army but may have the aptitude and potential to start on a cyber journey, and it's reconnecting them with this, so that would be a part of the program most definitely.
Do you have to change ECNs if you're a current reservist for current serving member?
We spoke about this earlier today. So I guess yes and no, but it depends on what you would like to do. If you would like to look at changing ACNs to one of the new cyber orientated ECNs, then that is a choice that the individual can make.
We're also looking at opportunities where perhaps you retain your existing ECNs because you have skills that are required and can be applied and that doesn't necessarily mean you have to transfer ECNs.
What are the medical requirements for the program?
These days, when I think about that is just case by case. Look, individuals are going in different circumstances to how they transition and how they are allowed within policy to come back and work to Army. So it's worth being curious about it and asking the question but there's no real guarantees. Yeah, and same for the AIRN or the readiness aspect of this. It may be less about the physical aspects if there is not a deployable consideration, but rather a domestic consideration, perhaps its development of policy or something like that that requires you, to engage the brain as opposed to carry a rifle and do the pack marching side of things.
Is this program targeting anyone?
No, we're not specifically targeting. We're not targeting a group. We're targeting the skill sets which comes back to my earlier point about are you working in industry right now that is cyber related? Do you have qualifications, skills and experience in cyber? That's really who we're targeting in the next 3 to 6 months to build the use cases for Army, and then the program will hopefully evolve into something we can add to that pipeline of people by transitioning and training and bringing people up to speed.
What if you already have the required skills for the program?
For your question about skills and I guess skills fade. If you have not had those certifications, but you haven't worked, you need to come in and there will be some skill test elements that will have different opportunities. And really, at the end of the day, Army's going to make an assessment at the individual level when we match you to an opportunity to see whether you're the right fit and that's just how they communicated. So you might as well be involved at this stage.
How can people who have not served, join the program?
There's a good degree of flexibility that is yet to be explored with some of the new cyber ECNs that have been established. They're different from the traditional models and they do include some options for direct entry, including Mid Career Direct Entry, but that very much depends on the skills and experience that those individuals are bringing to the table. But I guess defence of the organization's view is we can't build from scratch all of the workforce that we require. And even if we could, there's still going to be emerging skill sets that could be of immense value, and there is room to move there. I don't have any examples that we're currently working the policy with, but that's what we're looking for as well.
Is there an age limit?
It's not a strict barrier. There's no real strict restrictions here. We need to build your profile and see whether based on skill and the Army wants to engage you in one of these employment categories. It won't fit with inside some of our policies. Yes, some of the Army's existing policies that from a reserve perspective, the defence act is very clear. It's 75 years young. There is some circumstances where exceptions can be made, but again it's on individualistic case by case basis, but if we find that we have a whole volume of individuals that are clustering towards the upper end of that age bracket, well, then as we go through the next iteration of the Defence Act, which is sort of the 2023 timeframe, that's the value proposition that we need to include that barrier to service needs to be lifted but there might be someone who is approaching that and their skill sets from a national cyber resilience perspective. It needs to be retained and not pasture.
Can you join the program if you are enrolling in other government programs?
There's no restrictions. We have an interesting point about conflict of interest, which nobody's asked about if there is a conflict. It's just following the process of declaring what you think the conflict is as you go through the process of being activated if you like, or being part of the program in Army so that it's transparent and on the table, but there's nothing stopping you from being part of some of those other programs that you've named.
Is this a civilian embedded into a unit, or is it re-enlisting?
Do you need to wear uniforms during the program? How do you have to align back to readiness? How do you represent Army in the right way?
How you have to align back to readiness, and Paul spoke about that. At the individual level, if you get activated for a job, it's going to be under a particular employment category, and depending on that employment category, you will need to align with the requirements of that category. And there will be greatly but there will be some level of conformity.
Do you have to declare conflict of interest?
There is a well defined process for declaring a conflict of interest where army may have previously avoided any conflicts of interests on a few occasions. More recently, we have effectively landed into the conflict and embraced it because it's in the open, and the workforce and the co-workers are aware of the conflict of interest, and it is managed as you would manage any other employees in the workforce. You get the most out of your people by engaging with them and that person's working in an environment of understanding that they're conflict of interest is known.
There is some emerging work in Service Option Delta, which effectively fully embraces the conflict of interest. And to give you a non cyber example, this is the naval architect who works for both one of the Primes and Navy doing the same role function, and that is just embraced because the value proposition from Army and the Prime neither one could win the individual over, but their powers combined and the right value, the right circumstances are created to for everyone to be happy with that arrangement.
Why is the program just Army?
It's really not just for Army, but there's an opportunity now for us to showcase you as trained talent for Army, and there's a big need in Army. But I'm sure I'm right in saying the other services are too far behind on. That was one of the key reasons why we selected the Joint Cyber Unit to be a part of this is how do we do that? How do we help the other services? How do we reframe their thinking? How do we unlock the potential? If they have vacancies on their establishment and we have additional Army people, then there's no reason why we can't put an Army person into a Navy billet, and it’s equally there's no reason why an Airforce person couldn't come across and fill one of our Army vacancies if they've got the skills and experience that we're looking for as well.
Can you join the program if you are one of the units that were collaborating with one of the 18 units that have been selected as part of the trial and cyber is sort of 5% of the total trial?
We're exploring everything from engineers through to drivers, and School of Infantry is another example. So we've taken a broad cross section to try and address the workforce nationally, units from Perth, to Darwin, to Townsville, to Melbourne, we have taken a broad section of this. To reinforce up from our perspective, many of you would have already seen some jobs from Army coming out in the platform that aren't related to cyber. I know many of you want that. As Paul said there is a number of different jobs across a variety of units that are doing this trial. I'm not outside of cyber. You guys are more than welcome to apply to those jobs through our platform when you see them and we'll go through a similar process.