ACC hosts consortium to shape future of cyber training

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Teri Bunce
  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Air Combat Command hosted a three-day cyber training consortium with senior leaders from across the Department of the Air Force to identify and propose solutions to shortfalls in its cyber training, Feb. 15-17, 2022.

ACC has taken the lead on building cross-agency partnerships within the cyber community to synchronize training from initial skills to strategic post-secondary education.

“We’ve identified that we have under-invested in the training and education of our communications and information technology professionals,” said Col. Heather Blackwell, director of ACC’s Cyberspace and Information Dominance directorate.

Cyber leaders are critically evaluating the future of DAF communications and information technology training in order to meet the challenges posed by strategic competitors in the cyberspace and information domain. Attendees focused on the need to reduce gaps and overlaps to produce more streamlined and efficient training.

“The training and development of offensive cyber talent is extremely important to us, but cultivating excellence in communication and information technology is also fundamental to the future of Air Battle Management System, and consequently, Joint All-Domain Command and Control,” Blackwell continued.

ABMS is an Air Force technology modernization program, comprised of a family of technologies aimed at improving the data linkage and connectivity of weapons systems and platforms the service uses. AMBS is designed within the broader Defense Department framework of JADC2, which aims to have the entire military link its sensors and platforms across all domains of battle.

“If we are going to challenge and exceed our peer competitors in the technological space or increasingly, we must invest in our cyber warriors,” she said.

The consortium brought together members from Air Force and Space Force major command cyber leaders, Joint Chiefs of Staff cyber leadership, Air University, Headquarters Air Force cyber career field manager, Air Force Institute of Technology, Cyber War College, Joint Communications Academy, and various other service cyber training units.

“This training consortium is unprecedented,” said Maj. Henry Sims, chief of force development for ACC’s Cyberspace and Information Dominance directorate. “To my knowledge, we have never gathered this audience to address and improve the various training efforts across the cyber community.”

At the conclusion of this event, proposed solutions were presented to the Headquarters Air Force Deputy Director of Concepts and Strategy Air Force Futures, and the Secretary of the Air Force Director of Enterprise Information Technology for consideration.

“We must act with a sense of urgency and achieve a unity of effort so we can effectively manage and leverage the amazing talent we have in our community,” said Blackwell. “We owe them the knowledge and skills needed to operate the network of the future and ensure technological predominance over our adversaries. We began the momentum towards that future this week, and we will absolutely maintain it.”