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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 27, 2023

Coast Guard unveils new cyber mission rating

By Zach Shapiro, MyCG Writer

For the first time in eight years, the Coast Guard has a new rating. The cyber mission specialist (CMS) rating has officially launched. Once the new rating is fully implemented, there will be 260 active duty CMSs in the Coast Guard.

The launch is currently in its first phase, with the lateral change-in-ratings scheduled to be implemented June 1. As part of this process, Master Chief Petty Officer Jon Weppler, rating force master chief for the CMS rating (CMS-RFMC), and members of Enlisted Personnel Management’s Career Retentions Section (EPM-1) approved 131 of 148 change-in-rating packages. Weppler says he is excited that over 95% of those eligible in phase one applied for the CMS rating.

Capt. Jonathan Carter, EPM division chief, wants the workforce to know that “we’re providing members a stable and sustainable career path within the cyber community with immediate advancement opportunities.” He also noted that, “if members are passionate about cyber, they should be passionate about honing their skillsets in the Coast Guard’s newest rating.” 

Weppler encourages military members from any rating to apply when the CMS rating opens to the entire workforce next year. During the last round of lateral change-in-rating applications, 15 of the Coast Guard’s 22 ratings were represented, he said. Further, Weppler emphasized that members do not have to be information technicians (ITs) or intelligence specialists (ISs) to become a CMS. “This is open to every single rating for everyone who has the initiative, motivation, and technical prowess to get [the required] certifications and trainings.” 

Ultimately, EPM-1 is looking at a broad set of criteria to determine suitability for the new rating and overall performance within their current rating. EPM-1 desires candidates “demonstrating sustained high performance and a commitment to personal and professional development,” Carter added.

Weppler said that “one of the strongest packages we saw came from a third-class petty officer” stationed on a medium endurance cutter. Despite the demanding workload and deployment schedule, the member sought out opportunities to showcase their passion for cyber. Additionally, their commanding officer’s recommendation just blew it out of the water.”

“The CMS rating insignia is currently in routing for approval from leadership, and EPM anticipates opening the rating to the entire military workforce ahead of Assignment Year 2024 deadlines. There will likely be panel processes involved. Stay on the lookout for a formal announcement via ALCOAST soon, the selection would likely take place during the traditional boards and panels season,” Weppler said. Overall, he is thrilled with the workforce’s enthusiasm during phase one. “You talk to people and see their excitement about the future they can have in the Coast Guard.”

For more information, please see visit the CMS Sharepoint site. If you have any questions, please contact the CMS rating program.

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