The Air Force is beginning to build specialized cyber teams across the service whose primary mission is to defend local installations and critical mission tasks from cyberattacks.
These teams will ensure that a particular wing or smaller organization can complete their mission from a cyber perspective, Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner, commander of 24th Air Force/Air Forces Cyber, told Fifth Domain in a November interview.
For example, Skinner said if a wing has an F-16 unit that’s responsible for offensive counter air or defensive counter air support, mission defense teams will understand those weapon system and everything that goes into making those air sorties successful as a way to defend that mission from a cyber standpoint.
As an example, an eight-man team at the 2nd Weather Group within the 557th Weather Wing monitors the network and recently discovered several “bogus” account requests. The commander, Col. Patrick Williams, said the team was able to figure out that many of the requests were either bots or foreign requests that “had no business being on that network.” By working with the Network Operations and Security Center to eliminate that activity, the number of requests dropped by 80 percent, a huge win, Williams said. He added this was done with just a nascent mission defense team given that the teams are just being filled out across the major commands now.