Air Force activates five new cyber squadrons

The Air Force's cyber wing announced the activation of five new cyber operations squadrons that will defend Air Force networks

The Air Force is putting its expanding cyber workforce in place, with the service’s cyber wing announcing that several new cyber groups were activated at the beginning of the month. A new group and two squadrons were activated at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois and three squadrons were activated at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, the 24th Air Force announced in a release.  

The groups will fall under the 688th Cyberspace Wing within the 24th Air Force. The 688th Wing will provide information operations, engineering and infrastructure capabilities integrated across the three primary domains the Air Force operates: air, space and cyberspace.  

The five new active duty cyberspace operations squadrons, made up of more than 500 cyberspace professionals, will consist of three cyber protection teams that defend priority Defense Department networks and mission systems.

Other new groups include the 837th cyberspace operations squadron, responsible for defense operations supporting DOD and other combat missions, and the 833rd cyberspace operations squadron, responsible for national defensive cyberspace operations. 

The Air Force in all is contributing 1,700 individuals to DOD’s cyber mission force, Col. Robert Cole, director of Air Forces Cyber Forward, said last week. DOD’s overall cyber workforce, under the umbrella of the U.S. Cyber Command, will consist of about 6,000 personnel in 133 teams.

“Today's [group] activation ceremony is significant because it officially marks yet another milestone in the growth of Air Force cyberspace operations capabilities,” Col. Michelle Hayworth, 688th Cyberspace Wing commander said.   

An additional growth of the Air Force’s cyberspace capabilities is a new cyber proving ground announced last week by Cole. “So basically what that is, is somewhat of a collaborative innovation cell where folks can bring in their different devices, software, things of that nature, and we use a rapid prototyping situation to help develop those and bring them to bear if they show proof,” he said, adding that there are few details available on the proving ground.   

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