First African American Commander of the Information Technology Training Center at the National Guard Professional Education Center

Colonel (COL) Julius M. Johnson:

COL Johnson was born in Chicago, Illinois. As a child, he grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and attended the historic Little Rock Central High School and graduated in May 1983. After high school, COL Johnson attended the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems in 1990. He received a Master’s Degree in Computer Information Systems from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri in 1998. In 2002, COL Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Theology from Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock.

While attending college at UCA, COL Johnson enlisted in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 39th Infantry Brigade (Separate), Arkansas Army National Guard in 1985. He attended Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in May 1986, and Advanced Individual Training at Fort. Jackson, South Carolina in August 1986. While assigned in the 39th Infantry Brigade, COL Johnson served as a 71L Admin Specialist. He was later reassigned to the 119th Personnel Service Company, as a 74F Computer Programmer. In 1992, COL Johnson entered the Arkansas Military Academy Officer Candidate School at Camp Robinson. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Signal Corps on June 20, 1994.

As a Commissioned Officer, COL Johnson was assigned to Company C, 212th Signal Battalion (MSE), Pine Bluff, Arkansas as a Nodal Platoon Leader. He was reassigned to Company A, 212th Signal Battalion as a Nodal Platoon Leader and later served as the Company Executive Officer. In May 1999, he was assigned to HHC, 39th Infantry Brigade as the Information Operations Planner. COL Johnson served as Company Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry, 39th Infantry Brigade in August 2001. In January 2004, COL Johnson was assigned to HHC, 39th Infantry Brigade and deployed with the 39th Infantry Brigade in support of Operation Iraq Freedom for 18 months. During the deployment, he was assigned as the Deputy S6 with 3rd Brigade, 1st Calvary Division where he successfully managed Army tactical networks for over 900 users.

After the 39th Infantry Brigade’s redeployment in January 2005, COL Johnson was assigned as the 39th Infantry Brigade’s S6. While serving as the Brigade S6 in 2006, COL Johnson installed and fully connected the tactical networks of all five battalions and the Brigade HQs in a field environment as a complete Network Brigade for first time in history of the Brigade. Additionally, he was deployed as the Joint Task Force Communications Officer (J6) for Joint Task Force Razorback, Arkansas National Guard while supporting recovery and stability operations for Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. He masterfully synchronized digital communications in his area of operations and worked with telecommunication companies at the federal, national, and commercial levels along with communications units from the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard. Also in 2006, COL Johnson established and served as the director of the First Tactical IT Academy for the Arkansas Army National Guard. He was responsible for developing and providing Tactical IT training for the three Major Subordinate Commands (Infantry, Artillery and Aviation) of the Arkansas Army National Guard.

In 2007, the National Guard Bureau requested COL Johnson to leverage his leadership and training talents. He served as a Strategic Planner, writing the Strategic Plan for the Force Management Division of the National Guard Bureau. As a Force Manager, he successfully managed the structure of 94 ARNG Signal organizations with over 9,000 personnel spaces across 45 States and Territories, comprising 17% of the total Army Signal force structure. His efforts resulted in the reconsolidation of signal units that had been scattered with inadequate resourcing and training. By returning these units to the control of Signal commanders, enabled the States to effectively employ their capabilities in response to homeland security events and natural disasters. His vision and leadership created the first National Guard Signal Conference in 2008. This landmark event brought Signal units together from across the United States to organize, coordinate, and share ideas. This national conference continues today including both National Guard and Army Reserve Signal communities from across the country.

In 2012, he served as the first African American Commander of the Information Technology Training Center at the ARNG Professional Education Center (PEC). In this capacity, he was responsible for managing contracts of over $4.4M worth of building, IT, and sensitive equipment. He was responsible for the training and certification of IT, Cybersecurity, and Cyberspace operation professionals across the 54 states and territories of the National Guard. His dedication, drive, and training vision allowed his training center to become the first training center in the twelve-year history of PEC to achieve 100% TRADOC’s first time full accreditation.

In 2013, COL Johnson created the first National Guard Cyber Exercise called “Cyber Shield” which continues today, hosting over 800 IT and cyber participants. He also developed a validation-training program to train and validate the first Army National Guard Cyber Protection Team. In 2014, COL Johnson served as the Operations Chief for the Capabilities, Development, Integration Directorate at the United States Army Cyber Center of Excellence, Fort Gordon, Georgia. He was responsible for developing the concept and execution plan of the first CCoE Exercise called “Cyber Quest,” an event that continues today as an exercise in cyberspace innovation that brings industry, education and military enterprise together providing expeditionary solutions to Army Signal and Cyber problems.

COL Johnson was promoted to the rank of Colonel in 2018 and was selected to serve as the Senior Advisor to the FORSCOM CIO/G6 General at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. There, he developed and led the Army Digital Integration proof of concept where he conducted four National Army Digital Integration Proof of Concept Exercises across the county which resulted in a reduction of time at the nine Mobilization Force Generation Installations improving mission command system readiness across the Army. COL Johnson served as the Army Cyber Command G3 Chief, Reserve Affairs Division from July 2020 to December 2022. His most recent noteworthy contributions are the writing of two key SOPs that provided techniques, processes, and tools to establish process improvement to deliver Reserve Component talent management to the command. He significantly improved unit relations between mobilized Reserve Component Cyber units and ARCYBER senior leadership enhancing the situational and operational awareness of Reserve Component civilian skills capabilities not achieved in the active component.

COL Johnson holds professional certifications in IT and Information Assurance; Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Joint Cybersecurity Operations; Capability and Configuration Management; Strategic Leadership; and completed specialized certificate training in Project Management at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Other military course completed includes Army Cyberspace Operation Planners Course, 1st IO Command School, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Cyberspace 300 Course, Air Force Institute of Technology, Peterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the JPME II Joint Warfighting School, National Defense University, Norfolk, Virginia.

Among his many awards and decorations include the Arkansas Distinguished Service Medal and State Certificate of Appreciation awarded by the Governor of Arkansas; two Legion of Merit Service Medals, 4 Meritorious Service Medal (3OLC); 6 Army Commendation Medal (5OLC); 7 Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (7OLC); National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star; Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals; Humanitarian Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device and Silver Hour Glass; Combat Action Badge; and Army Staff Identification Badge. He is a member of the Signal Corps Regimental Association, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronic Association, Alpha Kappa Psi, National Professional Business Fraternity and Kappa Lambda Chi, Military Fraternity, Incorporated.

As a leader in the church community, COL Johnson has been a licensed and ordained minister for over 30 years and he currently serves as an Associate Minister at Beulah Grove Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

He is currently employed as a Joint Cyberspace Operations Planner II for the U.S. Cyber Command, Exigent Services LLC, Fort Meade, Maryland. COL Johnson retired from the Army on November 30, 2022, with over 37 years of distinguished military service to this great Nation.