NEWS | Sept. 2, 2021

Army Reserve Engineer NCO receives DoD Cyber Scholarship

By Sgt. 1st Class Tony Foster 412th Theater Engineer Command

U.S. Army Reserve’s Sgt. Harold W. Fisher III, 368th Engineer Battalion Assistant Plans Noncommissioned Officer (NCO), accepted a full ride under the Department of Defense (DoD) Cyber Scholarship Program (CySP) recently.

“Through my conversations with HRC, I understand that I am the first NCO to take part in this type of scholarship (Engineers clear the way),” said Fisher. “I am excited for this opportunity to focus on my education, and make a hobby of a career. Not many individuals have such an opportunity.”

The DoD CySP provides professional development opportunities for current employees who support DoD’s critical cyber functions in exchange for continued service within the department. Under the new DoD CySP Community College Program, DoD employees may apply to attend select institutions designated as National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education to complete an associate’s degree with a cyber-related concentration.

“I have been accepted to the Cybersecurity Center of Excellence at the Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso Branch Community College,” said Fisher. “At the completion of the program, I will receive an Associates of Applied Science in Information.”

The purpose of the program is to support the recruitment of new cyber talent, and the retention of current highly skilled professionals within the DoD Cyber workforce.

“Maneuvering through this process has been complicated, and would not have been possible without the support Maj. Simeti and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Francisco,” said Fisher. “My intention is to re-class into the Cyber field as an Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Soldier. My goal is to remain on the AGR program until my mandatory retirement. I love being in the U.S. Army Reserve as an AGR.”

Additionally, this program serves to enhance the national pipeline for the development of Cyber personnel by providing grants to institutions of higher education. Individuals, like Fisher, are prime candidates for such programs.

“Other than the obvious fact that Sgt. Fisher will further his educational background,” said Master Sgt. Brian Bailey, 368th’s Operations Sergeant and Fisher’s first line leader. “This opportunity will give Sgt. Fisher a broader base of knowledge which will enable him to operate more effectively as an NCO. I am excited for him. This is a great opportunity for both the Army and Sgt. Fisher.”

Maj. Gaetano Simeti, U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) G-37 Information Operations Training Officer, stated that Fisher plays to his strengths when engaging and navigating the CySP program. He explained that Fisher leverages a 15-year multi-component service career as a Combat Engineer and his civilian scholastic experience.

“His greatest strength is his intellectual curiosity,” said Simeti. “The program is an excellent incentive to get USARC full-time staff (AGR Soldiers, MilTechs and DA Civilians) into the Cyber world and ‘prep the battlefield’ to support multi-domain operations in 2028 and beyond.”

U.S. Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, National Security Agency Director, uses the catchphrase: “persistent engagement” to cover the broad spectrum of Cyber activities. The CySP program engages Soldiers, civilians and leaders like Sgt. Fisher to maximize their current or future skillset for the betterment of the individual or organization.

“The E-5s/O-2s of today will be the E-8s/O-5s of 2028,” said Simeti. “The U.S. Army Reserve participation in opportunities such as the DoD Cyber Scholarship Program showcase words matching deeds when we proclaim that the Army Reserve is ‘Ready Now, Shaping Tomorrow.’”

Fisher currently attends Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso Branch Community College and is completing his Associates Degree in Applied Science in Information.

For more information on the DOD CySP, visit https://public.cyber.mil/dcysp/.