Collaborative Exercise Helps Train Air Force Cyber Warriors

The operational warfighting organization that secures Air Force networks recently flexed its cybersecurity muscles in a months-long exercise that spanned the nation.

Held December 2018 through March 2019, Exercise Quantum evaluated how Air Forces Cyber could set up a task force concept that incorporates local and enterprise cybersecurity and defense forces to address cyber threats.

Exercise Quantum participants were charged with providing task force support to a Mission Defense Team to secure and protect an Air Operations Center network.

“There was a lot of ‘team-of-teams’ coordination on the task force to complete the mission,” said 1st Lt. Nicholas Liu, 33rd NWS hunt team lead. “We want to make collaboration among multiple mission partners a regular part of cyber security and defense, because this is a team effort. The exercise allowed us opportunities to better understand what each mission partner can offer within a Mission Command framework. Each task force team had the latitude to operate according to the Mission-Type Order, quickly and efficiently.”

The exercise was hosted by Scott Air Force Base’s 618th Air Communications Squadron and lessons learned will be considered in upcoming AFCYBER exercises and operations.