Department of Systems Engineering & Management

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General visits Wright-Patterson’s Center for Cyberspace Research
Posted: 02/16/2010 by AFIT Public Affairs

by Bill Hancock
88 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

2/12/2010 - WRIGHT- PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio  -- Maj. Gen. Richard Webber, 24th Air Force commander, visited the Air Force Cyberspace Technical Center of Excellence located at the Air Force Institute of Technology Feb. 3. While at AFIT, the general spoke to the AFIT faculty, staff, students, and base personnel on the mission of the 24 AF.

The general is responsible for the Air Force's newest numbered air force providing combatant commanders with trained and ready cyber forces which plan and conduct cyberspace operations. 24 AF personnel extend, maintain, and defend the Air Force portion of the Department of Defense global network. The general directs the activities of three wings, two located at Lackland AFB, Texas, and one located at Robins AFB, Ga.

During his briefing, the general held an open conversation to explain the current operations, challenges, and difficulties of this new command. "I think each service is doing what they need to do based on their culture. The Air Force, in my opinion, has constructed this organization correctly to address our needs," said General Webber. The general presented a series of presentations defining cyberspace and the challenges ahead, while inviting the audience to participate by asking questions.

Asked about defending the public domain of the World Wide Web, General Webber responded "Cyberspace is not a mission, it is a place where operations are conducted... and is about assuring the mission, not assuring the network." He went on, "We must change our paradigms. Old thinking dictated that we would shut a system down when attacked, now, we must fight through. As our Air Force conducts operations globally at the speed of light in cyber without attribution, collateral damage considerations must be taken into effect."

General Webber challenged AFIT students to produce and retain the skill sets needed to "protect the Air Force's crown jewels." The general reminded the audience "we are in a sprint, like finishing a marathon, with only the promise of another marathon ahead of us."

AFIT is producing graduates for the Air Force who understand cyber warfare and cyber operations. Some students who graduate from the Cyber Operations or Cyber Warfare Master's programs could go on to serve in 24 AF assignments.