Abbygayle Wiggins

I am currently a Troop Commander, having finished Army Officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2019 and Royal Signals Troop Commander training in 2020.

My role is to lead and manage a troop of Royal Signal soldiers, in a Squadron that conducts short notice deployments. Our job is technical, operating deployable network and communications systems to support Aviation Task Forces. My background in technology helps me keep apace with the engineers and specialists that I command. The additional understanding it affords me has enabled me to get the most out of my team, together overcoming the challenges that arise when providing robust communications in austere environments.

In parallel to the running of the Troop, my technical abilities are most exercised within my additional involvement with cyber. As a Computer Science graduate and cyber enthusiast, I applied to go on the Advanced Course in Engineering. This is an intense summer course run by the United States Air Force Research Laboratory, designed to prepare future leaders in the Cyber Domain. Deeply technical and hands on, but with a focus on leadership and cyber operations planning, I came out the other side of this invaluable experience keen to pass on my knowledge and passion to others.

Since joining the Army, I have been eager to encourage interest in coding and STEM initiatives. Upon arrival to my unit, I got involved with the newly formed CyberLAN; a weekly meeting of individuals who wish to learn more about cyber security, coding and networks. Together, we have worked to generate more interest through virtual and face to face lessons, as well as starting an inter-Squadron capture the flag competition as part of the annual CO’s Cup. This grew the number of people keen to be involved, and from this we formed a team for the Army’s annual network defence competition, Ex Army Cyber Spartan 4. Our small team of enthusiastic amateurs managed to win against teams from across the Army and wider. This earned us spaces onto the national team for NATO’s Ex Locked Shields 21, the largest cyber defence competition in Europe.

As the leader of the winning Army Cyber Spartan 4 team, I was given the privilege of leading the joint UK and Denmark team in Locked Shields. Alongside my day job, I coordinated the pre-training, overall strategy and in-game command and control. With our team assembled from a mixture of regular and reserve Service Personnel and MOD Civil Servants, whose experience ranged from amateur to professional, we came together for a week of intense training then into the competition. It was a huge challenge for all of us involved, and we were proud to have outperformed the previous performances of UK teams.

Aside from the excellent opportunities to participate in these competitions, my main focus within cyber is to expand opportunities within grass roots cyber education. As well as teach lessons to compliment the jHub coding scheme and Cyber Foundation Pathway, I have been working to create a Cyber and Innovation Hub within my Regiment. This will be a dedicated space with suitable resources to enable eager individuals to design and implement innovative projects. Throughout the year I have been working to secure funding build a cyber training range as part of this Hub. This would provide a virtual network in which our CyberLAN and others can conduct defensive and offensive cyber training, exercises and unit-level competitions in a safe environment. Enabling this to happen has been a difficult project, however I am hopeful that my vision will succeed.

Still in my first posting, my career so far has been short, yet the opportunities have been vast. I intend to continue my efforts in developing interest and education in technology throughout the Army, as much as I possibly can.