By Sergeant Rick
Our Active Component brethren take having access to a Department of Defense (DOD) computer for granted. Other than being on leave, active troops frequently have access to DOD systems in the field! As such, it only comes naturally for Pentagon J6 or DISA officials to haphazardly hand down systems access policies with Active soldiers in mind, seemingly by fiat. Platforms such as ATTRS, MOBCOP, and Tour of Duty are now restricted to DOD computers alone – and it seems like even more basic functions are headed that way as well, such as taking the pre-Periodic Health Assessment survey and signing clothing records. Unfortunately, these restrictions are having the unintended consequence of hurting reserve component soldiers – major users of them all!
In looking at the current IT policies surrounding ATTRS, MOBCOP, and Tour of Duty, do Active-centric policies affecting systems Reserve soldiers use put Reservists at a disadvantage? It would be hard to argue they don’t – Reservists and Guardsmen are typically at a site with DOD computer systems a mere two days per month and frequently live more than 100 miles away. How can Reserve troops see upcoming BLC, ALC, or other vital, required course sessions without access to ATTRS? How can reserve individuals use Tour of Duty to learn about upcoming deployment, mobilization, training exercise, and operational support opportunities if the very portal built to advertise, recruit, and assess volunteers bars access to its very customer base except when they’re at a DOD computer at their armory or reserve center?
The need for cybersecurity and operational security is significant, but must be juxtaposed and balanced with the needs of these systems’ end users.
What do you think? Does restricting access to the systems a reserve component soldier needs to advance his or her career via NC/OES or deployments make sense? Shouldn’t the Reservist or Guardsman’s user experience and access needs drive the systems’ security policies? Your thoughts and opportunities for improvement are welcome. Are there other systems you can’t access at home as a Reserve Component soldier?
About the Author: Sergeant Rick is a Reservist from New England and Tweets as @PlunkettPrime
Cover image: The U.S. Army’s ‘Cyber Center of Excellence’, Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., hosted a multi-service ‘NetWar’ to show, and build, cyber Warrior capabilities. Georgia Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tracy J. Smith.