A tile induction ceremony honoring the 67th Cyberspace Wing and 688th Cyberspace Wing’s contributions toward Air Force cyberspace and communication capabilities was hosted May 19 at the Air Force Cyberspace and Communications Heritage Center on Scott Air Force Base.
Two key milestones in cyberspace and communications from each wing were chosen for the ceremony to be placed on the Heritage Center’s timeline wall, a 30-foot wall focusing on the Air Force’s cyberspace and information dominance throughout the years.
“To the men and women who made these four achievements a reality, thank you for what you accomplished,” said Col. Kevin Kirsch, Cyberspace Capabilities Center commander. “To those in the audience who are writing the history that will be honored in future years, I’m excited to be able to serve alongside you.”
During the inductions, the establishment and efforts of the Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team was the first milestone to be honored.
In 1989, the first major attack on the internet, a computer program called the Morris Worm, shut down thousands of computers before it was stopped. In response, the Air Intelligence Agency’s Information Warfare Center founded the Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team. The AFCERT was one of the first CERTs formed to coordinate responses to large-scale intrusions like the Morris Worm.
The second milestone recognized was the establishment of Cyber Mission Forces. In 2013, U.S. Cyber Command directed all Services to build a Cyber Mission Force. A total of 133 teams were established. Each team was comprised of highly-skilled cyber and intelligence professionals, forming the backbone of U.S. Cyber Command’s ability to maneuver military forces to digital frontlines in the cyberspace domain.
Col. James Hewitt, 688th Cyberspace Wing commander, presented the third tile which recognizes the hard work and dedication that enable a cyber-effect to travel from San Antonio, through an aircraft and delivered to a ground target across the globe for the first time in 2015.
“Their teamwork and expertise ensured a successful operation and added a powerful capability to the Air Force arsenal,” said Hewitt. “Thank you for helping us honor them.”
Closing the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, 16th Air Force commander, honored Air Force National Cyber Protection Teams and their mission success in protecting cyber systems worldwide from adversaries.
“I’m proud of every single contribution they make because it is apparent across the department and important to recognize,” said Haugh. “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this day, it is a truly an honor.”
In 2018, Air Force National Cyber Protection Teams provided active defense options to ensure the mid-term U.S. congressional elections remained free from foreign interference.
After deploying as a member of the U.S. European Command, they worked with mission partner countries to hunt advanced persistent threats within their government networks. These teams worked on foreign partner networks to identify and disrupt malicious activity abroad in order to better prepare cyber defenses at home.
‘I’m extremely proud’
The tiles stand as testaments to the dominance of Air Force cyberspace capabilities and honor the hard-working Airmen who protect the nation against our adversaries.
“I’m extremely proud,” said Robert Kaufman, 318th Cyberspace Operations Group senior advisor. “It reinforces my belief that we have young Airmen who epitomize the CSAF charge to Accelerate, Change or Lose. The team who built this capability had a vision which became an innovation that was able to directly support the warfighter. As long as we have Airmen like these who don’t accept the status quo, our nation’s defense is in good hands.”