When the generation gap collides with military structure: The case of the Norwegian cyber officers

Hanne Eggen Roislien


As the military integrates cyber into its structures, gradually more nations are recruiting and educating personnel to serve as "cyber officers". Tech-savvy men and women from ‘Generation Y’ grew up in the post-modern era, recognized not only by its individualism and erosion of overarching, coherent maxims, but also by the fact that technology is taken for granted. Thus, in the situation of the cyber officer a particular generation gap occurs, one in which the characteristics of postmodernity, military command structures and the inter-disciplinarity of cyber pull in conflicting directions. This friction creates a peculiar situation as technology and cyber contribute to sharpen the generation gap that necessarily exists between the young generation of cyber officers, and their superiors in the military. I explore this quandary through an examination of cyber officers’ testimonies. In particular, I focus on the cyber officers’ conceptualization of “cyber” and how this resonates with that of their superiors’. The data is ethnographic, based on interviews with cyber officer students at the Norwegian Defence Cyber Academy.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.