Wounded vets trained in cybersecurity

Tuesday - 11/16/2010, 9:30am EST

Bob Connors, Program Manager, Raytheon's partnership with Wounded Warrior Project

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By Jamie Blanco
Digital News Writer
FederalNewsRadio.com

Raytheon Company and Cisco have teamed-up to help expand the Wounded Warriors Project - a non-profit program which helps returning wounded veterans learn new job skills.

Between Raytheon's generous five-year grant and Cisco's information technology resources, the two cyber defense giants are making it possible for troops returning from war to develop the skills they need to become online warriors in the field of cybersecurity.

"So this $2.5 million grant that Raytheon is providing will enable [Wounded Warrior Project] to achieve their mission and help them expand their transition training academies," explains Bob Connors, program manager for Raytheon's partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project. "And also help the wounded warrior to work program."

The grant money has primarily been designated to help expand the Project's facilities, but that's not where Raytheon's involvement ends.

"What we're going to do is work with Wounded Warrior to find out where we can help them." Connors told Federal News Radio. "We just want to be able to mobilize our workforce and help them wherever we can. Either through volunteers or maybe even educators within their academies."

Anybody who has been injured or hurt in the line of duty is eligible to participate. Connors said that this was not only an excellent chance to train and recruit, but also the opportunity for returning soldiers to become part of the next generation of cyber defenders.

Everybody is aware of the growing epidemic of computer viruses and we need more cybersecurity professionals out there to defend our networks and our personal information. So we felt it was a good opportunity for us to help them mature their portfolio of computer learning and add a cybersecurity element to it so there's another option for people going through the program to advance. They can get basic computer training right up to cybersecurity training.

The training is primarily offered through a computer based program. One of the other things they plan to teach participants is how to break down and rebuild a computer. The vets would then be able to bring the computer that they built back home with them. Connors said the experience is both uplifting and engaging.

"It gives everybody a chance to really understand and get positioned to go back into the civilian workforce or even enter the government workforce in an IT field that's going to give them a great opportunity."

According to Connors, accommodations are provided for veterans with even the most severe injuries, including missing limbs, so that every participant has the equal chance to learn, advance and become skills.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily Cybersecurity Update brought to you by Tripwire. For more cybersecurity news, click here.