HomeNewsArticle Display

Cyber Squadron Initiative: Arming Airmen for 21st century battle

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force cyber landscape of today is not the same as 10 or even five years ago; every Air Force core mission is impacted and connected by cyber. In response, the service has created the Cyber Squadron Initiative.

The initiative trains small teams from existing manpower that focus on defensive cyber operations of Air Force weapons systems.

In order to meet the increasing cyberspace-related threats and demands, the Air Force is shifting its focus from operating and maintaining traditional information technology services to stronger offensive and defensive cyber capabilities that support core missions.

"Air Force core missions are cyber dependent, and the complexities and threats in this environment have grown exponentially," said Lt. Gen. William J. Bender, the Air Force chief information dominance officer and chief information officer. "We are leaning forward to tailor the cyber force by leveraging industry partners and the joint information environment to perform basic IT services, thereby enabling Airmen to move away from a unitary focus on IT service delivery toward a holistic cyberspace approach that includes active mission defense and mission assurance."

The Cyber Squadron Initiative enhances the capabilities of cyber Airmen to defend, assure and optimize unit missions in, through and from cyberspace. Currently, 15 initial cyber squadrons - called pathfinder units – have been organized, trained and equipped to deploy cutting-edge applications to provide mission assurance to their wing’s critical missions. They are being joined by 30 new pathfinder units that were recently announced and have already begun training while identifying their key terrain in cyberspace.

Ultimately, pathfinder Airmen will present commanders with a more complete understanding of the risks military operations face in cyberspace. Pathfinders identify a wing’s specific mission threats in order to determine cyber implications, Lt. Col. Billy Pope, from the Air Force Chief Information Office Cyberspace Strategy Branch and leader of the program, explained.

The initiative will mitigate risk to the wing’s portion of the Air Force’s core missions: air and space superiority; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; rapid global mobility; global strike; and command and control.

As these pathfinder units activate, all Airmen will see more integration of mission defense teams throughout the mission planning phases all the way to execution.

“Our adversaries understand that cyberspace offers a potential asymmetric advantage,” Pope said. “We must develop capabilities, culture, and organizational structures to safeguard our Air Force core missions against cyber threats.”

An updated program action directive and Air Force policy are scheduled to be implemented this year, with funding for new training in cyber school houses for officer, civilian and enlisted in fiscal year 2018. Implementation of all changes is expected by 2026.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@SecAFOfficial was honored during a celebration ceremony @Andrews_JBA May 21, 2019, an event which highlighted her… https://t.co/tMSo0I8KxO
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to the #Airmen & families serving around the world for the #USAF. https://t.co/CYWpd8Aeuh
Today #USAF celebrates the rapid innovations and accomplishments of @SecAFOfficial, the Honorable Heather Wilson.… https://t.co/dVQM3A5DWF
RT @SecAFOfficial: Proud to have had the opportunity to be your wingman. https://t.co/gDMUq5yA7L
RT @SecAFOfficial: .@MIT is a leading institution for AI research, education & application —making this a huge opportunity for the #USAF as…
.@HQAirUniversity recently hosted @SecAFOfficial's 66th annual National Security Forum, enabling the sharing of per… https://t.co/qBlG5F69ah
#ICYMI #Barksdale Airmen deployed in support of @CENTCOM Bomber Task Force in early May @DeptofDefense. The #B52 is… https://t.co/o8yJgq72dm
Tomorrow the #AirForce will celebrate @SecAFOfficial's tenure as the 24th Secretary of the Air Force. #WatchLIVE as… https://t.co/mTuhuZaNxu
RT @DeptofDefense: Throughout the history of the @USAirForce, adaptation and innovation have played a key role in sustaining global suprema…
It was "Fangs Out" @HAFB for Exercise Venom 19-01 which aligned with Hill’s Combat Showcase. https://t.co/3UtNLRYcp1 https://t.co/5d3JW876IH
The #B52 Wise Guy, a cold warrior that stood sentinel over America from the darkest days of the Cold War to the glo… https://t.co/yxSgZpsBKY
Have a bright idea for ways to #FuelMoreFight? @AFEnergy's looking for you. https://t.co/nbHISOo0KP
Congratulations to #USAF Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet Maj. Sydney Cloutier from Pensacola High Schoo… https://t.co/baRvgYsuPC
Grand Forks AFB soon to be known as America's Global Hawk Base once the @319ABW is re-designated as the 319th Recon… https://t.co/EBRkBhkE0f
RT @ConorDaly22: Have to give a big thank you to @usairforce TSgt Amanda Reynolds for drawing us spot number 1 to qualify! Just under 2 hou…
Today, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch met w/@GovHolcomb & the #AdjutantGeneral of @INGuardsman at the @IMS as part of our ne… https://t.co/r8amzUd8Ko
#DYK: The #USAF's real #CaptainMarvel trained @brielarson for her role as Capt. Marvel. Learn more about Brig Gener… https://t.co/hZNbSzuvNS
Calling all Hoosiers! We're coming to #Indianapolis May 18-20 as part of our new community outreach program -… https://t.co/ywj6LXACAW
.@SecAFOfficial was interviewed by #JojoScienceShow at last week's @Andrews_JBA's #STEM event which featured more t… https://t.co/CwAjk4Foxq