US Airmen Undergo First-Ever Defensive Cyber Training

American cyber personnel from the 275th Cyber Operations Squadron have completed their first-ever defensive cyber training mission at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Maryland.

The event provided an opportunity to develop, train, and exercise internal cyber defense using a non-classified internet protocol router network (NIPRNet) designed to avoid usual scripted training scenarios.

During the training, participants collected and analyzed more than 1.7 terabytes of data across 161 NIPRNet client and networking systems within 96 hours. They were tasked with searching for anomalous activity and determining if there was a misconfiguration or a genuine threat to remove.

The team discovered 121 unique installed applications, 526 unique hashes from 51 entry locations, and 4,640 unique file paths.

“This resembles what could potentially be tasked on a real mission while in a Title 10 status, which typically authorizes federal active-duty military service under the president in support of national defense,” a recent press release stated, adding that the training paved the way to discover what American cyber operators are capable of when given unplanned scenarios.

‘A More Prepared Cyber Unit’

The activities included in the mission were tailored to make US air personnel a “more prepared” cyber force in the future.

Air force official Eric Burdon explained that the training offered cyber operators an opportunity to coordinate with mission partners, vital in real-world scenarios.

“This training is a very unique opportunity and it is the first that the Air National Guard has been able to do in a sustained and recurring process,” he said. “That command and control function, as well as actual tactile work on the keyboard, is a huge benefit.”

Burdon recognizes that the tasks during the training were not easy, but they gave military personnel a chance to “flex their muscles.”

Meanwhile, US Air Force Brig. Gen. Jori Robinson said that he is “immensely proud” of the 275th Cyberspace Operations Squadron for achieving another milestone and leading the way in multi-domain operations.


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