Tyndall Squadron Pioneers Cyber Defense

The 325th Communications Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla., has become the first Air Combat Command unit to join a program aimed at ramping up network security for missions throughout the Air Force. The Air Force-wide program, which launched in February and includes 16 squadrons, brings together airmen from a wide variety of specialty areas and gives them training in network operations and analysis, according to a press release. In the case of the 325th CS, the newly trained analysts are focused on securing network capabilities for the 325th Fighter Wing in its mission of flying F-22 Raptors. “We are giving mission assurance for those information systems that directly interact with the aircraft. We provide the internal defense of the systems,” said TSgt. Antwane McDowell, NCO in charge of the cyber defense team, according to the release. The training program developed by the 325th CS could become a model for similar cybersecurity teams to provide mission assurance throughout the Air Force. USAF senior leadership is also mulling the possibility of creating a new specialty code for airmen trained through the program to allow them to integrate more seamlessly with existing communications squadrons.