By hosting a series of hackathons, the Navy hopes to find and recruit cyber talent

To reach out to younger cyber talent in the United States, the Navy is executing untraditional recruitment tactics. Instead of promoting the way and life of Navy officers, the Navy hosts multiple hackathons. Deterring from buzzed hair and bootcamps, they are hoping to capture a wider net of recruits. Potential candidates are challenged to break into the security systems of military drones and warships.

The system that is the center of these hackathons is built by contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. It is a similar copy of actual fleet systems in use. Participants get to deal with a variety of functions of nautical communication interfaces. This gives participants the opportunity to find different ways to hack into the system.

The Navy is taking this route because they recognize the need to recruit the best talent in this field. They are aware that the systems on board their ships are vulnerable and if hacked, could lead to disastrous consequences. They struggle to attract talent because at times, their appeal pales in comparison to tech companies. In fact, these Navy hackathons are not held in Navy bases, but at tech spaces. This is aligned with the Navy's goal to strengthen relations with tech leaders as well.

The Navy is not alone in their efforts to push for more innovation in technology within their infrastructure. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been hosting different kinds of competition to attract a wider net of talent to come up with unique solutions to some problems. This includes inviting participants to develop better new infectious disease forecasting methods. Even the Defense Department held a challenge last year to hack the Pentagon, paying thousands of dollars to those who successfully found weak spots in the system.

These hackathons have the potential to lead to more inclusion and get a variety of people on board to help with maritime security. With hacking such a common daily occurrence, it is essential to build up the right security measures for protection.

U.S. Navy


Lead Image: (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alyssa Weeks/Released)

To reach out to younger cyber talent in the United States, the Navy is executing untraditional recruitment tactics. Instead of promoting the way and life of Navy officers, the Navy hosts multiple hackathons. Deterring from buzzed hair and bootcamps, they are hoping to capture a wider net of recruits. Potential candidates are challenged to break into the security systems of military drones and warships.

The system that is the center of these hackathons is built by contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. It is a similar copy of actual fleet systems in use. Participants get to deal with a variety of functions of nautical communication interfaces. This gives participants the opportunity to find different ways to hack into the system.