It seems when I veer off of keto for 2-3 days, I gain 12 pounds, and then it takes 1 week or so to take the weight back off.  I’ve done this like 3 times since Christmas.  The most recent was my trip to the outer banks.  We only went for a half a week – and I was still keto for the first half of it.  I did some maintenance biking and running but nothing crazy.

But now I’m latched on to a goal. My previous post sort of outlined the “big goal”.  I feel this is a win/win situation.  My goal is set for May 2019 to be in “great” shape, about 8 months away.  I’m hovering around 246-249 depending on what day/water, etc.  So, I’m looking at 6-8 pounds per month for the next 8 months.  That will be 48-64 pounds.  Which will ultimately take to me 198-182.

So – May 2019 is the goal month.

Recently, I’ve been upping my exercise output.  I’ve been running 3 times a week, biking 3 times a week, and added a second full body workout to my normal Saturday workout.  I do not necessarily advocate “cardio” for weight loss.  It works, but if you’re 350 pounds, it can be very devastating to your body.  I’m at a point now where I need to add cardio conditioning so I can compete – whether it’s triathlon or fitness tests.  I’ve also started adding random pushups in my day.  I can do about 12-13 really good legit ones at a time.  This isn’t going to cut it, which is also why we got 8 months to build.

The win/win refers to:

  1. I make the cut and can proceed OR
  2. I don’t make the cut, I gave it my 190%, and I’m in great shape with a summer ahead of me to enjoy my new life.

So – more research on the military branches and my options.  I started out saying this is a one in a million shot.  I may not be that far off.

Let’s start with the basics.  I’m looking to go officer versus enlisted.  This does not indicate in any way, shape, or form, that either officer or enlisted would have any interest in me.  It also does not indicate I could cut it or pass the physical tests.  This isn’t like deciding if you want to buy Nikes or Under Armor sneakers.  These are two highly competitive choices that I’d be lucky to be considered for.

I’m at a point in my career where I might have interest in a civilian government job as opposed to contractor.  However, it’s virtually impossible for me to go that route as well since I have no military experience.  For the type of job I might have interest in down the road, I feel having commissioned officer experience might give you an edge over NCO or enlisted experience.   I love my current job, but the life of a contractor is year to year, and maybe this plan takes place several years down the road.  I don’t plan for my career weeks ahead, but years ahead.

So I’m looking at what options exist for officers.  What you will find is tons of conflicting information.  Most sites will have tight age limits.  Others will says age waivers exist.  Recruiters won’t give you the time of day because you are not within the age or weight range.  Apparently, a vast majority of people showing interest in these positions are a long shot or not in shape, so recruiters don’t want to waste their time on them.  I 100% understand this.  Which is also why my next conversation with any of them will be when I’m in shape and can pass the tests in the parking lot, if needed.  May 2019.

Let’s review some things that recently happened:

  1. Age limits were lifted, by law, with the NDAA 2019.  Section 501.  As a caveat, this said “regular commissioned officers”.
  2. Officers can now be commissioned directly up to an O-6.  This is a colonel (army/air force/marines) or captain (navy).

There is a difference between “regular commissioned officer” and “reserve commission”.  However, all of this starts getting fuzzy for me now in technical jargon.  How might this affect reserve officer recruiting?  How does this affect direct commissions for cyber in reserve?  Would the services then change their rules, even if the law permits them to?  For example, the marines are a strict 28 for anything.  No dice.  The air force allows new officers up to 39.  The army does direct commissioning for cyber up to 41.  The laws have changed to permit the service branches to now increase those ages – but the question is – will they?  Would they be able to provide any age waivers for anyone who is highly qualified by maybe 1 or 2 years older than a limit?

So now I have more odds against me.  I’m not someone who quits early or quickly.  Again, I then picture “win/win”.

Going through the branches, I want to show you where I am – and what odds you might have.

  1. Marines – not really on my radar.  Age limit appears to be tight at 28.  I have a decent amount of my friends who have gone through basic at Parris Island.  No thanks.  You are a better person than I.
  2. Army – this one has some promise, but it’s still fuzzy.  As mentioned, they started a direct officer commission program.   You can also see details here and the two new direct commissions here.  This is a pilot program meant to add about 5 per year.  It has added two, and both of them came from active duty enlisted.  This direct commission is ONLY available for active duty for a 3 year commitment.  The reporting on this program indicated that it would at some point be open to reserves.  With the law changes – it’s POSSIBLE – that someone such as myself at 43, in good shape, has a POSSIBLE path to maybe an O-3 or O-4 direct commission like you would a doctor or lawyer.  I believe from there, it’s not OCS, but a commissioned officer school (basic officer training?).  This is my ideal path to do reserves.  There’s another option, but not really possible.  There’s a 17A cyber officer for the reserves.  This goes through something called CyBOLC.  Rather than OCS or boot camp, this is a cyber school in Ft. Gordon.  On the page, they didn’t go into great details on this, but my independent research has found this to be 37 (THIRTY SEVEN) weeks!!  If you are in the private sector, how on God’s earth can you take 37 weeks off from your job?  I heard they are trying to condense this – I also saw the curriculum, and my master’s degree, Sec+, and CISSP cover 80% of this curriculum already.  This is geared towards those with zero cyber training and want to get into the field.  So – if that was reduced to maybe 19 weeks and age limits were increased with the NDAA 2019 that filter down – this is an option.  I also saw that at my age, the acceptable height/weight is 26% bodyfat, and I’m hovering at around 33-34%.  So, I’m shooting for 15-20% BF by May, this is very doable.  The PT test standards I’m just on the outside now looking in with running.  I have several minutes to shave off to meet the cutoff.  I figure with 50 pounds and 8 months of training, this will take care of itself.
  3. Air Force – this also has some promise.  Recently, two Air Force enlisted were given direct cyber commissions under their pilot program.  The air force also has reserve officers in cyber.  Those officers cannot be over 39 and they will go directly to a 9 week Officer Training school (OTS).  This is different than the Army in that their training is then spread out over years with TDY rather than 37 weeks at once.  This is more palatable for a civilian with a job who wants to join.   So – this has the same appeal to me as the Army direct commission, but these are also full time Active Duty that are coming in as O-1 and O-2.  Financially, I can’t even sniff that.  My only option with a direct commission would be perhaps in 1-2 years with either of these branches if they open them up for direct commission for the reserves OR they are able to start someone at O-5 or O-6 for active duty due to money concerns.  Of concern for me with them is fitness, as they don’t look at body fat, but have a strict 186 pound limit for my height.  I also saw their fitness test is harder than all of the others.  For example, where the army etc might have two minutes for so many pushups, the AF is doing 80-90% of that limit, but within 1 minute.  The air force also has a commissioned officer training school which is like 5 weeks, and not the 9 week OTS course.
  4. Navy – not sure this is even an option.  First and foremost, they most seem to be only looking for coders – your programmers in computer science.  They also have a reserve program, and I believe theirs had an age limit of 37.  I stopped looking so much when I drilled down and realized their only interest is cryptography and programming.  Cyber defenses are so much more than that – but it seems that was the swim lane they chose.  I have taken programming classes, but as an undergrad, I didn’t have that much use for it and didn’t do well.  I have used “scripting” for the better part of 15 years in vbscript, javascript, HTA, batch, and powershell.  This does not translate to expert level C++ programming, although at this stage in my career in IT and experience with scripting, I’d ace any programming class.  The problem you run into as an undergrad in IT (at least I did) was that you are learning abstract concepts that do not apply to anything in your known universe.  After you work in the business field for several years, you can then see how these things apply – which is why I scored off the charts in grad school and not as a drunk undergrad.

 

So – what this leaves me with is some hope.   Here is my ideal path, moving forward:

  1. Get my weight down, get my pushups up, get my running on par, get my general fitness levels up.  I feel 8 months and continuing the path I’m on will prove to work.  I have recently upped my running, biking, and lifting.  At 42, I also need to take more rest than those that are younger, and I have to ensure I’m on point eating so my recovery will help build muscles and heal any issues.  I have to have a mix of pushing myself to the limit coupled with forced downtime.  I have to monitor my feet/joints/back – to ensure I’m not over stressing.  Still, 8 months with moderate levels of intensity and planned rests should do the trick.
  2. Continue to monitor the news and sites for changes.  While the law has changed and direct commissions are out there – I’m facing age issues which may or may not change by branch.  They have made a massive push in congress to help the DoD recruit cyber talent not only older, not only with direct commissions (NDAA 2017), but also now with being able to appoint them up to O-6.  These pilots have begun, the law has changed – but how quickly this gets down to the branches for change in policy – and then down to the recruiter level could be 6-12 months, if not more.  So – I have a window within the next 12 months where either I’m in or I’m then approaching 44….45 and have to close the chapter.

My preference, if I could do this TODAY:

  1. Army cyber direct commission, reserves, come in as O-3 or O-4.  I have two master’s degrees and 22 years experience in IT.  I have my MCSE (server 2012), MCSA (server 2008), Sec+, CISSP, PMP, Server+, Net+, A+, MCP, and MCTS-SCCM 2007.  I have nearly 10 years working in the DoD and clearance.  I was a lead engineer over 42,000 machines  at a DoD entity responsible for hardening and complying to US Cybercom directives managing an enterprise-level tool (SCCM) at the top level of an organization.  I have managed 16 technicians on a Computer Network Defense (CND) team, I am certified at IAT3/IAM3 enterprise level for 8570, and currently manage 70 resources for an enclave under US cybercom in cyber security, desktop support, patching systems, servers, and networking.  I’ve worked under NETCOM in US Cybercom for many years and am familiar with Army cyber, networks, and operations.
  2. Air Force, direct commission, come in as O-3 or O-4.  I believe both Army and AF are providing units to US Cybercom.  AF has their game together, but I’m not very familiar with their side of the house.  Still, they have a great reputation and if a direct commission existed for reserves, I’d be all over that.
  3. Air Force reserves, cyber officer.  This would require OTS for 9 weeks, then the other training you need spread out over years with TDY.  I could miss 9 weeks of work for this.  I would love the training, and this would help my career something crazy as I could contribute a ton to their mission.
  4. Army reserves, cyber officer.  The downside here is the 37 week training for CyBOLC.  Can’t do it.  I read somewhere that 19 weeks was something being done, but I can’t confirm that.  I can do 19 weeks as perhaps the upper limit, but there would need to be a significant signing bonus because….good luck trying to replace 4-5 months of my wages without losing my house.
  5. Army direct commission, active duty, O-5 or O-6.  Given my experience and scope of those I manage, I don’t believe I’d be eligible for anything more than an O-4, and that might even be a stretch.  Most likely they’d offer at most is an O-3.  The problem is – I’m one of those people the article talks about trying to replace the salary, or getting close.  Currently, I make more than O-6.  I don’t want to discuss money here, but they are trying to attract civilians with these direct commissions.  I don’t care it it’s an O-3 (for rank), but the money would have to be there.  I live 70 minutes from Ft. Meade, which I believe these positions would report.  I cannot move to Ft. Gordon in GA.  So – if somehow they came close to the money I make, in some way, shape, or form (perhaps O-3 with $$$$$ bonus for 3 year commitment) and guarantee I’d be working out of Meade, I can do this.  Currently, the direct commission only goes to 41 and starting at First Lt. only.  This is $37,000 per year.  My guess is the law hits this in 6-12 months and competition might get crazy.  They may only pick 5-30 of these per year, and if they open this up, you might be looking at 30,000-100,000 qualified applicants per year.

 

In conclusion….

I might have a better chance of winning powerball.  However, anyone that knows me closely knows that I’m extremely goal oriented, I’m uber competitive, and I research the ever living shit out of things.  One of my advantages here is that not a ton of people know about the options above.  I then start doing some set math.

Do you remember the VENN diagrams from 7th grade?

In the population…you must be….

  1. citizen
  2. have clearance
  3. have at least a bachelor’s degree.  I feel two masters degrees may get me extra points
  4. be in shape
  5. have advanced certifications.  I sort of have all of them, including some of the hardest to get in my industry
  6. have experience with DoD
  7. have leadership demonstrated
  8. have a clean record, no tattoos
  9. have no surgical record
  10. be in great health
  11. (I also live within 90 minutes of Meade)

While I may have a slim to little chance…I like my chances when/if they open age stuff up!

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