JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
Air Forces Cyber hosted its first-ever Cybersecurity Foundry Course, March 5-14, 2018, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
Eighteen cyberspace professionals shared their knowledge and expertise of cybersecurity functions, processes, procedures and data analysis skills with 100 cyberspace students from across the Air Force, all with one goal in mind.
“We’re making this investment in our Airmen to improve the mission readiness and health of our Air Force network,” said Maj. Gen. Chris Weggeman, AFCYBER commander. “We are building and executing these training [courses] to teach and empower our Airmen to effectively employ these cybersecurity and defense tools, and deliver mission readiness and mission assurance for our service.”
During the two-week course, students received interactive instruction and hands-on-keyboard training. They also completed practical exams to demonstrate their concept understanding.
“We’re showing the students the full capability of the cybersecurity tools available to them,” said Airman 1st Class Shelby Mckinlay, 83rd Network Operations Squadron patch management technician and course instructor. “They can take what they’ve learned back to their base to provide them a better understanding of these tools as well.”
One student plans to do just that.
“Each tool does something different throughout the AFNet to give us a complete picture of network security and to mitigate vulnerabilities,” said Marcus Taite, Air Force District of Washington cybersecurity branch chief and course student. “I’m eager to get back to work to use these tools more.”
Mckinlay stressed the course’s importance and its support of cybersecurity.
“Cybersecurity is integral to all Air Force missions,” she said. “We can’t get by without technology, and if we aren’t vigilant, we can’t protect it. These tools help us do that.”
At Weggeman’s direction, Capt. Leo Schoonover and Master Sgt. Michael Greene, 690th Cyberspace Operations Group and course creators, gathered various cybersecurity professionals last fall to brainstorm course content and goals. In January 2018, a pilot workshop was held to finalize lesson plans, student handouts, slides, tests and other course materials.
“This is an opportunity to pull together as a community and provide tangible training solutions. This is a great first step,” Schoonover said.
The course is scheduled for three more iterations throughout 2018. In 2019, the course is scheduled to be included in client systems technician initial skills training, so every new technician will receive the training.