What is it like working in military cyber security? What are the restrictions (in terms of software)? Would I be able to pick an OS? Can I use my own tools? Do I have to give the government any tools I write? Is AFROTC viable option with the direction of training I am headed, and if so, should I go enlisted first(as pseudo SMP)?

I'm primarily worried that my time spent in Linux systems would end up being useless in the military. I decided to ask here because I don't know if anyone who works in cyber security for the military. I will try contacting some of the ROTC/air Force reps after posting this. Some background- About a year ago, in my junior year, I gained an interested in starting a military career. It was also at this time that I was studying networking and started using Debian. After researching, I found that there were many careers available in the military ranging from networking, sysadmin, and pentesting. I was interested in trying out these skills by creating a lab, and I have ended up spending my senior year using it daily and enjoyed every moment. I am currently working on a couple of certifications: ICND1, RHCSA, OSCP. I completed a couple Microsoft certifications through FLVS early in the school year. I settled on starting in cyber security, and have practiced using tools from Kali, writing programs to automate tool usage, learning different concepts and practicing execution in Linux environments. Since I just finished highschool and still 17 untill August, I worry about what complications with my self taught training could happen when joining military cyber security. I'm hoping someone could relieve me with some clarity. Thank you!

P.S. I wasn't sure where to post this, is there a better place?

1 Answer 1


Full disclosure, I am prior Air Force and I will answer your questions to the best of my ability.

1.) USAF Officers: So, it seems as if you are still attempting to define how you are going to enter the USAF (i.e. Enlisted/Officer). This is priority #1 before you make any decisions going forward. If you have a 4 year degree completed in a needed field (Mathematics, Cyber Security, Physics, Meteorology, etc), then you should be able to get passed the recruiter and take the AFOQT - Air Force Officers Qualification Test. The test will either deny or accept you entry to Officer Candidate School. However, since you are still is HS, start looking at schools with a ROTC program and a CyberSecurity/ Information Technology Security Major. These should be your first steps

2.) USAF Enlisted: there are sysadmin, network engineers positions within the enlisted ranks. I am not so certain on cyber security though as that takes lots of training and education which, is really more of an officer AFSC. If you are thinking of enlisting for cybersecurity, I would just ask you to go look at ROTC programs first since that will be a much better solution which a much more guaranteed AFSC, and you're setting yourself for a much brighter future.

3.) Linux: Understand it, know how to use it well, Linux is your friend and ally when it comes to pen testing and hacking in general. With that said, you need to understand windows very well too. The USAF and most cyber commands for that matter will have a subset of tools and procedures that you will need to follow if you enter in the service. Just try to learn as much as you can about as much as you can.

4.) Certifications: OSCP is a bitch, if you're going to focus on some certifications, focus on one at a time IMO. If you are studying for OSCP, just study for OSCP! But you should really figure out what you want to do. If it's offensive or defensive security, then from there narrow it down as much as you can.

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