Mission Assessment Specialist Job Profile

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What is a Mission Assessment Specialist?

The Mission Assessment Specialist (AN-ASA-002): Develops assessment plans and measures of performance/effectiveness. Conducts strategic and operational effectiveness assessments as required for cyber events. Determines whether systems performed as expected and provides input to the determination of operational effectiveness.

Professional Certification

Mission Assessment Specialist must know:

  • computer networking concepts and protocols, and network security methodologies.
  • risk management processes (e.g., methods for assessing and mitigating risk).
  • laws, regulations, policies, and ethics as they relate to cybersecurity and privacy.
  • cybersecurity and privacy principles.
  • cyber threats and vulnerabilities.
  • specific operational impacts of cybersecurity lapses.
  • human-computer interaction principles.
  • network traffic analysis methods.
  • concepts, terminology, and operations of a wide range of communications media (computer and telephone networks, satellite, fiber, wireless).
  • physical computer components and architectures, including the functions of various components and peripherals (e.g., CPUs, Network Interface Cards, data storage).
  • cyber attack stages (e.g., reconnaissance, scanning, enumeration, gaining access, escalation of privileges, maintaining access, network exploitation, covering tracks).
  • website types, administration, functions, and content management system (CMS).
  • attack methods and techniques (DDoS, brute force, spoofing, etc.).
  • classification and control markings standards, policies and procedures.
  • common computer/network infections (virus, Trojan, etc.) and methods of infection (ports, attachments, etc.).
  • computer networking fundamentals (i.e., basic computer components of a network, types of networks, etc.).
  • current computer-based intrusion sets.
  • cyber intelligence/information collection capabilities and repositories.
  • cyber laws and their effect on Cyber planning.
  • cyber operations support or enabling processes.
  • data communications terminology (e.g., networking protocols, Ethernet, IP, encryption, optical devices, removable media).
  • encryption algorithms and cyber capabilities/tools (e.g., SSL, PGP).
  • evolving/emerging communications technologies.
  • fundamental cyber operations concepts, terminology/lexicon (i.e., environment preparation, cyber-attack, cyber defense), principles, capabilities, limitations, and effects.
  • general Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system components.
  • host-based security products and how those products affect exploitation and reduce vulnerability.
  • how Internet applications work (SMTP email, web-based email, chat clients, VOIP).
  • how modern digital and telephony networks impact cyber operations.
  • how modern wireless communications systems impact cyber operations.
  • how to extract, analyze, and use metadata.
  • intelligence confidence levels.
  • intelligence preparation of the environment and similar processes.
  • intelligence support to planning, execution, and assessment.
  • internal and external partner cyber operations capabilities and tools.
  • internal tactics to anticipate and/or emulate threat capabilities and actions.
  • Internet network addressing (IP addresses, classless inter-domain routing, TCP/UDP port numbering).
  • malware.
  • organization or partner exploitation of digital networks.
  • organizational hierarchy and cyber decision-making processes.
  • physical and logical network devices and infrastructure to include hubs, switches, routers, firewalls, etc.
  • target vetting and validation procedures.
  • targeting cycles.
  • telecommunications fundamentals.
  • the basic structure, architecture, and design of modern communication networks.
  • the basics of network security (e.g., encryption, firewalls, authentication, honey pots, perimeter protection).
  • the common networking and routing protocols (e.g. TCP/IP), services (e.g., web, mail, DNS), and how they interact to provide network communications.
  • the structure and intent of organization specific plans, guidance and authorizations.
  • the ways in which targets or threats use the Internet.
  • threat and/or target systems.
  • virtualization products (VMware, Virtual PC).
  • what constitutes a “threat” to a network.
  • wireless technologies (e.g., cellular, satellite, GSM) to include the basic structure, architecture, and design of modern wireless communications systems.

Key skills of the Mission Assessment Specialist include

  • assessing and/or estimating effects generated during and after cyber operations.
  • conducting non-attributable research.
  • defining and characterizing all pertinent aspects of the operational environment.
  • developing or recommending analytic approaches or solutions to problems and situations for which information is incomplete or for which no precedent exists.
  • evaluating available capabilities against desired effects to provide effective courses of action.
  • evaluating information for reliability, validity, and relevance.
  • identifying alternative analytical interpretations to minimize unanticipated outcomes.
  • identifying critical target elements, to include critical target elements for the cyber domain.
  • identifying cyber threats which may jeopardize organization and/or partner interests.
  • preparing and presenting briefings.
  • providing analysis to aid writing phased after action reports.
  • providing understanding of target or threat systems through the identification and link analysis of physical, functional, or behavioral relationships.
  • reviewing and editing assessment products.
  • tailoring analysis to the necessary levels (e.g., classification and organizational).
  • using Boolean operators to construct simple and complex queries.
  • using multiple analytic tools, databases, and techniques (e.g., Analyst’s Notebook, A-Space, Anchory, M3, divergent/convergent thinking, link charts, matrices, etc.).
  • using multiple search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo, LexisNexis, DataStar) and tools in conducting open-source searches.
  • using targeting databases and software packages.
  • utilizing feedback to improve processes, products, and services.
  • utilizing virtual collaborative workspaces and/or tools (e.g., IWS, VTCs, chat rooms, SharePoint).
  • writing, reviewing and editing cyber-related Intelligence/assessment products from multiple sources.
  • analyze and assess internal and external partner cyber operations capabilities and tools.v

Mission Assessment Specialist must be able to:

  • communicate complex information, concepts, or ideas in a confident and well-organized manner through verbal, written, and/or visual means.
  • accurately and completely source all data used in intelligence, assessment and/or planning products.
  • develop or recommend analytic approaches or solutions to problems and situations for which information is incomplete or for which no precedent exists.
  • evaluate, analyze, and synthesize large quantities of data (which may be fragmented and contradictory) into high quality, fused targeting/intelligence products.
  • clearly articulate intelligence requirements into well-formulated research questions and data tracking variables for inquiry tracking purposes.
  • effectively collaborate via virtual teams.
  • evaluate information for reliability, validity, and relevance.
  • focus research efforts to meet the customer’s decision-making needs.
  • function effectively in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
  • function in a collaborative environment, seeking continuous consultation with other analysts and experts—both internal and external to the organization—to leverage analytical and technical expertise.
  • identify intelligence gaps.
  • recognize and mitigate cognitive biases which may affect analysis.
  • recognize and mitigate deception in reporting and analysis.
  • think critically.
  • think like threat actors.
  • utilize multiple intelligence sources across all intelligence disciplines.
  • exercise judgment when policies are not well-defined.
  • understand objectives and effects.

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