WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
The Air Force Institute of Technology and the Air Force Cyberspace Technical Center of Excellence conducted its first ever Cyber 200 and 300 course graduation here Oct. 28, 2010.
General. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command, served as keynote speaker for this first class of cyberspace warriors.
More than 100 students graduated from AFIT's newest educational courses designed to develop and train a dedicated cadre of cyberspace warriors.
The Cyber 200 and 300 courses were designed for all cyberspace professionals including the entire "17D" or Cyberspace Operator career field. The courses provide an understanding of the design, development, and acquisition of cyberspace systems. They also explore cyber asset capabilities, limitations, vulnerabilities and employment in joint military operations.
"I have a great job being the AFIT commandant and historic moments like this are one of the reasons why," said Brig. Gen. Walter Givhan. The general was the opening speaker for the graduation held at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Club.
"AFIT graduated its first class over 90 years ago. In those days of wood, wire and fabric, our forefathers realized how important education was to this developing technology," said General Givhan. "Now, as we stand here again transitioning to cyberspace, we once again realize the importance of education and the need for the collective intellect that has served us over the years."
Cyber 200 and 300 are professional development courses for cyberspace professionals as they transition to intermediate and higher level responsibilities.
Students were provided a broad background in cyber concepts, including capabilities, limitations and vulnerabilities and their associated application and employment in joint military operations.
Graduates enrolled in the program were from across the Air Force and DOD cyber community, including the 7th Intelligence Squadron, 83rd Network Operations Squadron, 315th Network Warfare Squadron, 690th Network Support Squadron, 24th Air Force, Air Force Special Operations Command, National Guard Bureau and U.S. Strategic Command.
General Kehler provided comments on the rapid growth of the Air Force's cyber capabilities and challenges faced in this operational domain.
"This is a remarkable time in our Air Force," said General Kehler. "One day you will look back and say, 'I was there.'"
Since 2005, the AFIT Center for Cyberspace Research has worked closely with AFSPC headquarters and 24th AF to develop and deliver personnel with the technical skill sets required to operate in the cyberspace warfighting domain.
"Space and cyberspace bring us the ability to have very small groups of forces act and behave like very large forces," said General Kehler. "Cyberspace is an enabler. It allows warfighters to navigate and call in help with supreme accuracy. It allows warfighters to see the battlefield in real time. This focus on space, and now cyberspace, will allow the United States Air Force to continue the dominance over our adversaries.
"If we do not pay attention to what is happening in cyberspace, our adversaries will take advantage of us by taking our advantage away. That is how important it is for us to train and educate in this cyber domain," General Kehler added.
"It is tremendously important that we, as a service, have decided to embrace cyberspace as an operational domain," said General Kehler. "Fly, fight and win in air, space, and now cyberspace is enormously important to our future."
"We have done a lot in a very short time. We have developed, what we believe to be, the appropriate blend of tactical and technical training," the general said. "Along with these first 200- and 300-level graduate courses, commanders should know that all Airmen will now come to them with a block of cyber training obtained through our Basic Military Training."
The courses will be continually re-tooled and aim to keep cyberspace professionals current and at the cutting-edge, keeping pace with the quickly changing technologies of the cyber domain.
"This was the best Air Force training class I have ever attended," said Capt. Travis Tubbs, a 200 Cyber graduate and class leader."What really impressed me was the level of quality instructors and their willingness to help." Captain Tubbs was the only non-communications student attending the 200 Cyber class. Currently the captain is pursuing a graduate degree at AFIT in Space Systems.
"I was privy to the early development of these courses and begged my thesis advisor to allow me to attend the class. I'm glad I did," he said.
As a result of AFIT's cyberspace initiatives, research, and close interactions across the Air Force, in June of 2008, the Secretary of the Air Force designated AFIT and CCR as the Air Force Cyberspace Technical Center for Excellence, whose charter was to bring a level of understanding to the Air Force on cyberspace operations across the service.
"This is a good start," said General Kehler, predicting AFIT's role in developing cyber warriors for the nation will continue to grow and mature. Along with the audience of distinguished guests, faculty and students, the event brought together key personnel from the operational cyber community. General Kehler added, "I would not have missed this opportunity to be here."
Among the distinguished attendees were, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner; Maj. Gen. Edward Bolton, the Air Staff's director of Cyber and Space Operations; and, Maj. Gen. David Fadok, Air University vice commander .
For more information visit the AFIT Center for Cyberspace Research website at http://www.afit.edu/en/ccr/centerprograms.cfm?a=cyber