VNG Soldier is first direct commission ARNG cyber operations officer

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, administers the oath of office to newly-promoted Maj. Waldon W. Jue Aug. July 30, 2020, in Fairfax, Virginia. (U. S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

FAIRFAX, Va. —  Maj. Waldon W. Jue became the first Army National Guard Soldier to direct commission as a cyber operations officer July 30, 2020, in Fairfax, Virginia. Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, presided over the direct commissioning ceremony and administered the oath of office to Jue who is assigned to the Virginia National Guard’s Fairfax-based 144th Cyber Warfare Company, 124th Cyber Protection Battalion, 91st Cyber Brigade.

“For the Army National Guard and the United States Army as a whole, this is a big deal,” Williams said. “You are breaking new ground in many, many ways, and the Army and the National Guard are learning as we go. Being able to direct commission Soldiers who have extensive civilian and military experience like Maj. Jue provides us the opportunity to increase our cyber operations capabilities. We need that now more than ever given the challenges we face in the information domain.”

Prior to his commissioning, Jue held the rank of sergeant first class and was assigned as a platoon sergeant in the 144th Cyber Warfare Company. He had previously deployed twice to Afghanistan and was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

“Everyone is telling me this is a big deal, a major accomplishment, and that is great to hear,” Jue said. “it is something for which I am very proud, but it is also humbling. I am keenly aware I still have a great deal to learn. It is also very exciting because I feel like the Army has thrown down the gauntlet and told me to do more and do better.”

Jue transferred from the West Virginia National Guard to be part of the 91st Cyber Brigade, and he was selected by the Cyber Center of Excellence to direct commission to the rank of major based on extensive technical skills from his civilian education and career, explained Lt. Col. John A. Truax, commander of the 124th.

Prior to the commissioning ceremony, Jue completed a federal recognition board with the Virginia National Guard Senior Army Advisor, and he will soon report to the Cyber Officer Basic Courses.

“Maj. Jue brings extensive experience as a software engineer and will be an exceptional asset to the Army’s cyber forces,” Truax said.  “His appointment paves the way for future cyber direct commissions for those with exceptional technical abilities to join the Army National Guard and support our Army’s critical efforts in cyberspace while maintaining their full time civilian careers.”

Though current Army National Guard policy states direct commission candidates can only be appointed as second lieutenants, the Army National Guard Policy Division has authorized the 91st Cyber Brigade, Virginia Army National Guard to run a trial appointment, explained Col. Carl A. Young, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence chief of staff.

Jue holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a Master’s of Science in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. In his civilian career, he has worked for two decades in advanced technology development.

For more information about the program and instructions on how to apply, please visit https://www.goarmy.com/army-cyber/cyber-direct-commissioning-program.html.

Maj. Waldon W. Jue returns his first salute as a commissioned officer to Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy M. Hawley, senior enlisted leader for the 124th Cyber Protection Battalion, July 30, 2020, in Fairfax, Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)