The U.S. Air Force has established a program that seeks to train airmen in defensive cyber operations of the service branch’s weapons systems and increase their capacity to manage unit missions in cyberspace.
The service branch said Friday it aims to address risks in air and space superiority, command-and-control, global strike, ISR and rapid global mobility missions under the Cyber Squadron Initiative.
Selected from existing manpower, the Air Force has organized, equipped and trained 15 initial cyber squadrons, dubbed pathfinder units, to support various applications for their respective wings’ missions.
“Air Force core missions are cyber dependent, and the complexities and threats in this environment have grown exponentially,” said Lt. Gen. William Bender, chief information dominance officer and chief information officer of the Air Force.
“We are leaning forward to tailor the cyber force by leveraging industry partners and the joint information environment to perform basic [information technology] 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 Air Force noted that pathfinder airmen will ultimately work to help commanders understand cyber-related risks to military operations.