FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Maryland –
The 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing hosted Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall on Feb. 2 and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander, from Feb. 1-2, 2024, to learn about the wing’s cryptologic mission.
Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, the 16th Air Force serves as the Air Force’s Information Warfare Numbered Air Force. Its mission is to converge capabilities to generate IW outcomes for combatant commanders and air components.
“Part of my daily rhythm is receiving an intelligence update on the many challenges and threats our Air Force and Space Force faces,” Kendall said. “These products deliver expert-level detail and analysis. Meeting the intelligence Airmen working behind the scenes is important to me as a leader.”
As America's Cryptologic Wing, the 70th ISRW plays a vital role in aiding the Air Force’s IW NAF by providing commanders with knowledge to help make advantageous decisions and de-escalate potential conflicts. It conducts global ISR in air, space, and cyberspace and comprises 6,200 Total Force Airmen assigned to six groups, 23 squadrons, and two detachments spanning 28 locations worldwide.
The 70th ISRW predominantly works alongside National Security Agency professionals in support of national intelligence needs and builds partnerships across the intelligence community in support of Air Force and joint force requirements.
“What we accomplish in the 70th [ISRW] is tremendously important to the entire ISR enterprise and our mission to generate insights for the Joint Force and national leaders,” said Kennedy. “As one of the Air Force’s largest wings, the 70th ISRW leadership of our Airmen who analyze and translate SIGINT [signals intelligence] is critical to generating combat power and ensuring the joint force is postured to win during competition as well as win during a potential crisis or conflict.”
The senior leader visits began with Kennedy as he met with 70th ISRW leadership and toured a few of the wing’s facilities that are on the NSA campus such as the dining facility, fitness center and the recently renovated living quarters.
Also, the general had the opportunity to engage with members from 32nd and 7th Intelligence Squadrons, discussing capabilities with Airmen who conduct real-time SIGINT and cybersecurity missions across the globe.
“This is an amazing opportunity to highlight how we synchronize as a global wing along with our mission partners to ensure our Airmen are part of a highly effective, resilient team that is ready to win any fight, anytime,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Celina Noyes, 70th ISRW commander.
Kennedy capped off the first day with a mentorship lunch for field and company grade officers. He shared personal experiences learned throughout his career and answered questions about leadership and optimization of the work force.
“[As leaders] you have to find the best way to lead your team in focusing on the key priorities that have the greatest mission impact,” said Kennedy. “I greatly appreciate what you’re doing to lead our Air Force. Your responsibility is to take care of the Airmen so that they can take care of the mission. You need to ensure they are trained, ready, and empowered.”
On the second day, Kennedy joined Kendall along with other senior leaders at the 70th ISRW headquarters where they received briefings on programs and capabilities employed by the wing such as cyber threat & vulnerability interdiction, Over-the-Horizon Targeting, and Publicly Available Information.
Through these efforts the 70th ISRW pushes the cryptologic mission forward, securing national security systems and critical infrastructure to generate deep insights into foreign adversaries and prevail in an era of great power competition.
Additionally, the leaders recognized a few Airmen for their contributions in supporting the mission.
“Our one team, and the entire joint force, relies on you,” said Kendall. “Your analysis, products, and persistence are our advantage—it informs better decisions and allows us to better anticipate what seems unpredictable. More importantly, this visit makes it clear, our intelligence professionals constantly seek to hone their skills. Thank you for all that you do, making sense of a turbulent world is no small task.”
The senior leader visits concluded as they transitioned to U.S. Cyber Command and NSA for a change of command ceremony.