Defense

June 18, 2012

Weapons school integrates cyber warfare

Tags:
by 1st Lt. Ken Lustig
Nellis AFB, Nev.

Eight Air Force weapons officers completed the first cyber weapons instructor course at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, 328th Weapons Squadron, June 16 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Weapons officers are tactical experts trained in the art of battlespace dominance who instruct the Air Force’s instructor corps and serve as advisers to military leaders at all levels.

The WIC students are primarily cyber warfare officers, but the course also accepts qualified applicants from the intelligence, space and missile and engineering career fields.

Although this cyber class is the school’s first, Maj. Brent Wells, the director of operations for the cyber WIC, said the graduates’ accomplishment will ultimately reduce the distinction between cyber and traditional operational specialties.

“Although we ‘deep dive’ into the cyber curriculum during the first phase of our academics, what we’re really trying to get across to our students is this: You’re not a cyber officer first, not an intel or space officer first – you’re a weapons officer, and your job is to provide advice and counsel to our leaders and be that expert on all Air Force capabilities,” Wells said. “The purpose of this course is to refine these officers’ cyber skills and round them out by teaching them to be expert instructors, problem solvers, leaders and tacticians, ultimately teaching them how to integrate the cyber piece with the entire spectrum of Air Force and joint capabilities.”

To this end, all of the approximately 115 students from the USAFWS’ 18 weapons squadrons – each specializing in one of 24 platforms (battle concepts or weapons systems), are brought together at regular intervals and must rely on each other for critical knowledge and coordinated planning. After the first third of the course the academics broaden to give all students a clear picture of how all of their capabilities are used in the Air Force and joint environments.

Wells said the addition of the cyber WIC is part of a bigger Air Force effort to further integrate and operationalize its cyber capabilities.

“In the past, we have often thought of cyber in terms of monitoring networks and responding to trouble tickets – a maintenance mindset,” he said. “But as our adversaries become increasingly effective and sophisticated at engaging in the cyber realm, it is clear that the cyber domain has become a key terrain of the battlefield, and we have to move beyond the old way of thinking.”

Lt. Col. Bob Reeves, the commander of the 328th WPS, said the school’s space course was created in 1996; it addressed, but did not deeply delve into, cyber operations. The new cyber WIC was created in part to help the Air Force take its cyber capability in new directions.

“We want our graduates to transform and inspire our nation’s combat power, to bring the cyber piece to operational planning, but also to help build the cyber force to recognize that they are part of the overall picture and a capability we are providing to the combatant commander,” Reeves said.

The lessons learned at weapons school are applied across the force.

“It is not enough just to train our weapons officers,” Reeves said. “We are taking the lessons learned from our exercises and planning, and feeding that innovation into other exercises and even real-world operations where those techniques and tactics can be validated. We take what works and export it.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
af-spacex

Air Force certifies SpaceX for national security space missions

Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s Falco...
 
 
Army photograph

Army’s mid-tier radio advances battlefield network

Army photograph The mid-tier networking vehicular radio, or MNVR, is being tested extensively, including a limited user test, which was conducted this month at Network Integration Evaluation 15.2. This soldier is operating the ...
 
 
DARPA photograph

Human-robot teams compete June 5 at DARPA finals

DARPA photograph Team KAIST, from Daejeon, South Korea, and its robot DRC-HUBO negotiate mock rubble at a test site March 6, 2015. DARPA photo   In eight days, 25 human-robot teams will compete on the rubble-strewn field of a...
 

 
af-QF4

QF-4 aerial target program concludes

5/26/2015†-†One of the 82nd Aerial Target Squadronís QF-4s sits on the drone runway prior to takeoff May 12 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. This unmanned QF-4 was used as a full-scale target and shot down by a pilot from t...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>