Little about me, I worked in IT for the past 9 years on/off. I started in the Navy. I was on the Incident response team. I knew some of the guys from Red Team, but I was not qualified to join the team (inexperience, clearance etc). Now that I have worked in IT as, helpdesk and Tech Support, I want to narrow my focus. I want to get into Cyber security and ultimately end up penetration testing or Red Teaming.
I have picked up some knowledge from a combination of work, school and hobbies. I picked up some programming (Java, Perl, php, MySQL), network analysis and sys admin (Server 2000, Server 2003 and Linux) over the years. I already have a personal LAN/Lab at home. However, I'm not sure how to gain a solid foundation in hacking/network security. I was planning on buying 4 books. These books are Gray Hat Hacking, Second Edition, Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, 2nd Edition, Hacking Exposed, Sixth Edition: Network Security Secrets And Solutions and The Web Application Hacker's Handbook: Discovering and Exploiting Security Flaws. I read the reviews on them, and they seem to be considered worthy reads.
Which book should I purchase first or should I purchase a Security+ study guide and a CCNA study guide first and come back to these books later? Also, I have used Ubuntu and Red Hat linux. Should I stick with these or should I move on to BT/Slackware? If your recommendation is that I should move on to BT/Slackware please note the advantages of this switch. Thanks for your time.