News - Military

Cyber News Now: Women in Cyber Training Battalion aim to break barriers in field

December 20th, 7:59 AM EST

FORT GORDON, Ga. (WFXG) - Cybersecurity is making waves across the country, especially in the US Army. It’s a growing branch that is also matching a growing level of global threats.

Two women from different walks of life are experiencing some firsts with cyber.

“This is not the path that I had wanted to walk, but when I was given the opportunity to be a drill sergeant, and they said you’d be the first female 17 Charlie drill sergeant, I just…It would be a dishonor to say no to that.” explained Staff SGT. Judy Holley, Cyber Training Battalion.

“I am the first female in my family to be able to explore the STEM realm of a job, or you know, of even schooling. I started doing a master's as well.” said CW2. Tiffany Northern, Cyber Training Battalion.

But, they are not alone. Both recognize there’s not many other women in this field. According to a recent study, the percentage of women in cybersecurity is about 24%. 

“I got to the AIT realm to help female soldiers and I get there, there’s 600 soldiers and 30 of them are female.” said Staff SGT. Holley.

“I also think that we, as a female population, need to have other females to be able to collaborate with or help them understand they too can come into this field and be successful.” said CW2. Northern.

Staff SGT. Holley and CW2. Northern agree more collaboration is needed as warfare takes on a different tactic.

“I feel like the direction we are going, in 2021 forward, all of our wars are going to be on the computer. I feel like I’ve seen it, and I know where people are coming from, and they’re coming for the computers.” said Staff SGT. Holley.

CW2. Northern believes having more women in cyber can also mean making a difference on a personal level. 

“It is an area that is growing so quickly. I've been able to assist the other females in my family such as my grandmother. She's 95 years old and I am able to give her the rundown of understanding cybersecurity and the importance of it to protecting our information. It's good so that I can show my children, I have two daughters, the ability for them to excel within the STEM degree and the military as well.” said CW2. Northern.

However, that may mean starting early by giving kids exposure to cybersecurity.

“I think it’s important that we get them now, right then and there, when it’s interesting to them, like okay cool, you like this? Let’s head in that direction.” said Staff SGT. Holley.

Staff SGT. Holley aims to bring more women to cyber by recruiting and training new soldiers. As for CW2. Northern, she hopes to complete her Master's in Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity. She hopes to be an example for her daughters.

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