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Cadet Battalion Commander to Work in Cyber Operations Upon Graduation

By Noell Saunders

Cadet Lt. Col. Austin Jones, a native of Stafford, Virginia, is among the 41 new officers from around the world who will be recognized May 5 in a joint ROTC commissioning ceremony for Old Dominion University's Army ROTC and Naval ROTC Hampton Roads.

Jones is graduating on a scholarship with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. He was granted a unique opportunity to spend his last year leading and training about 200 cadets while serving as the cadet battalion commander.

"It's humbling to be able to lead a large group. I've been fortunate to be exposed to new circumstances and new challenges," he said.

Jones went through rigorous training to achieve his goals both in the army and field of study. He worked as an intern managing networks and servers for the United States International Trade Commission during his sophomore and junior years. Jones came in at a time when it was discovered that the Office of Personnel Management was breached in 2015. At that time, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was putting pressure on federal agencies to audit systems and Jones was part of the push to help the Commission implement security guidelines.

Maj. Hunter Bowers, ODU Army ROTC's commanding officer and one of Jones' professors noted that he's an interesting young man.

"He's got a lot of potential and he's going to do great things," Bowers said. "He has all the great qualities that we look at, especially in a young leader. He's been a tremendous asset to us."

Jones said his experience has been nothing short of amazing and he hopes to inspire more cadets to welcome new opportunities.

"I'm excited to commission as an officer and move to the next level. I'm a different person than when I came in as an 18-year-old," he said.

After graduation, Jones will enter the Virginia Army National Guard in Fairfax, Virginia while working part-time as a cyber operations officer. He is part of the first group of officers who will be commissioned into the cyber warfare unit from Virginia.

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