By Peter Buxbaum
December 6, 2007
The Air Force is establishing a professional force of cyber operators
and developing cyber career paths for officers, enlisted personnel and
civilians. The new Air Force Cyber Command and the Air National Guard
are among the focal points of the plan.
Were asking ourselves, What is a cyber warrior?? Col. Anthony Buntyn,
who is in line to become a brigadier general, told an industry audience
at the Air Force IT Day sponsored by AFCEA in McLean, Va., Dec. 5. What
skills and equipment do they need? We are developing basic criteria.
The Air Force intends to provide some basic cyber training to all who
enter the service, said Maj. Gen. Charles Ickes, special assistant to
the deputy chief of staff for operations, and plans and requirements at
the Air National Guard.
In addition, as many as 40,000 cyber warfare specialists will be trained
as warriors, advocates and visionaries for cyber operations. Ickes said.
The scope of the training involved will differ based on the assigned
duties and could take six to 15 months. It could take seven to 10 years
to develop the career cyber force the Air Force is envisioning, Ickes
Were trying to look at the best way to integrate air, space and cyber
operations in everything we do, Ickes added.
Cyber operators need the same freedom to maneuver as warfighters in the
air or on the sea or land, Buntyn said.
>From a network standpoint, our priority is to ensure our networks are
survivable under attack, Buntyn added.
Ickes said the Air Force is working with universities, the Air Force
Academy and the Doctrine Center to develop programs and curricula for
cyber trainees. One result, he added, has been the development of a new
Net Warfare Training course for enlisted personnel.
The enlisted force will be performing the preponderance of this work,
Ickes said. We are trying to create a career path and to make this a
dynamic opportunity. I think it could be a very appealing career field
for young kids as the come into the military.
The officer force needs more broad training in the cyber area in
addition to education about a particular area of expertise.
For Buntyn, connecting with private industry will be one key to
developing the Air Forces cyber skills. Ickes said the Air National
Guard will provide one conduit for the transfer of cyber knowledge and
skills to Air Force personnel.
Buxbaum is a freelancer writer in Bethesda, Md.
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