NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Marine Corps is experimenting with how it adds cyber warriors at the tactical edge, to be better prepared for a modern fight, according to the chief of Marine Forces Cyberspace Command.

As the Marine Corps codifies how to use defensive cyberspace operations and related units within a Marine air-ground task force, it’s experimenting with cyber warriors inside a Marine expeditionary unit, MarForCyber’s Maj. Gen. Lori Reynolds said at the Sea-Air-Space Expo outside Washington.

“How do you put capability into a MEU that can be a responsive force in the cyber domain,” Reynolds told reporters. “This is the first time we will have Marines out there, getting a feel for the ship and finding out, how do we do this? What tools would we take with us?”

The experimentation is both a test case and part of a longer-term project to incorporate cyber into tactical units. “Eventually what you want to do is as a MEU is out and about, forward deployed, we just want cyber to be a part of that,” she said.

Reynolds said she cannot incorporate cyber warriors fast enough to satisfy the demand from tactical units.

“They are hungry for it,” Reynolds said. “Part of my growth is providing more capability to the MAGTF. Right now what I have is all I have to get my own force up and running. I can’t move fast enough for them, so they’re demanding more.”

This year the Corps has added an O6-level cyber warfare group inside each Marine expeditionary force, the largest type of a Marine air-ground task force, part of larger growth within the Corps cyber force.

The Marine Corps created a cyber career field earlier this year and requested 1,000 billets related to cyber/electronic warfare/information operations in the most recent budget to be better postured to fight and win in an increasingly modern battlefield.

As it adds more offensive cyber operators from the signals intelligence community the idea is to also recruit the best defensive cyber operators to become offensive operators, Reynolds said.

Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.

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