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
RT @DeptofDefense: Defenders, assemble! @usairforce airmen with the 442nd Security Forces Squadron hone their lethality and team-building…
RT @AFResearchLab: Let's celebrate the beginning of Fall and the changing of leaves with this optical microscopy of deformation twins in hi…
RT @624RSG: Are you facing a challenge or dealing with a struggle? People find hope in many different ways, whether it's through family, fa…
RT @AF_Academy: You can’t beat this view. You just can’t. 📸@USAFWingsofBlue https://t.co/JLZcPVp7uP
RT @AirMobilityCmd: #Mobilty #Airmen will move heaven and earth to keep America’s promises to its service members. Check out this story of…
RT @DeptofDefense: Bringing them home. More than 82,000 Americans remain missing from #WWII through the Gulf Wars and other conflicts. The…
RT @USAF_ACC: Today is POW/MIA Day. We will forever remember and honor the lives lost fighting for our country. 🇺🇸 #USAF #POWMIARecognitio
Weren't able to make #ASC19 this year? No problem. We've got the goods. Push ▶️ to hear from first-time attendees a… https://t.co/rEOE1eukwz
Howdy Texans! #AmerciasAirForce is heading to the #lonestarstate on Sept. 27. Hear this #Airman share his love for… https://t.co/BS1ysk4ST3
The return of great power competition requires the U.S. military services to change and adapt quickly. Hear from De… https://t.co/kKiNeHywzp
RT @AirMobilityCmd: The four fans of freedom are blowing strong as a U.S Air Force C-130J Hercules from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansa…
RT @ActingSecAF: Kudos to @AirForceAssoc on #ASC19 👏🏻 What a wonderful professional opportunity for #Airmen & industry to expand our compe…
.@ACC_Commander designates the 16th Air Force as a new information warfare numbered #AirForce at #ASC19. As… https://t.co/LMiMJ3rWNO
RT @AstroHague: Thank you to the Airmen across the globe who make the human exploration of space possible. Wishing the @usairforce a happy…
RT @Hanscom_AFB: “The @usairforce is leading the charge across @DeptofDefense. No one else in #government has as much ... of this software…
RT @PACAF: Commanders from Australia, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Thailand and the U.S. met for the 2019 Logistics and Safet…
To all those who helped establish the long blue line past, present and future, we honor you and we remember with th… https://t.co/teymF7proy
#ASC19: "We’re all in this together trying to make your service to country the best experience on the planet. We w… https://t.co/rdbCDBJr2c