Pioneering Cyberspace Squadron hosts Mission Defense Team Conference

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Kirchner
  • Buckley Garrison Public Affairs

The 62d Cyberspace Squadron hosted a Mission Defense Team Conference at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Sept. 10, 2020. The conference was held to collaborate across the Air and Space Force cyberspace communities.

During the conference, the cyber communities discussed how the 62d transitioned to a Cyberspace Squadron. The 62d CS is the first Air Force Communications Squadron to transition to a Cyberspace model.

The meticulous process of becoming a cyberspace squadron from a communications squadron included trial and error. To communicate their best practices and challenges, the 62d CS authored a playbook to help other squadrons.

“The 62d CS provided a way forward through operational demonstrations and presentations on how to restructure traditional space communications squadrons to cyberspace squadrons providing Defensive Cyber Operations,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Mark Boatman, 62d CS Director of Operations. “[We] distributed the first-ever MDT Playbook, that details how to build an MDT, covers lessons learned and provides examples for implementation.”

The playbook eases the transition for other communication squadrons as they become cyberspace squadrons.

“The current plan is for all space communication squadrons to eventually transition to cyberspace squadrons,” said Boatman. “In total, there are nine U.S. Space Force squadrons that will transition.”

The communications squadron typically assists base personnel with information technology support. But the new challenge for some communication squadrons is to switch gears and become Cyberspace Squadrons. Cyberspace Squadrons work to execute the defense of space mission systems through cyberspace.

“Across the Department of the Air Force, [Communication Squadrons] are responsible for building, operating, maintaining, and securing base networks, servers, computers, telephones, mobile and wireless devices, printers and infrastructure,” said Boatman. “Cyberspace Squadrons, on the other hand, are tasked with executing defensive cyberspace operations for mission systems through the employment of Mission Defense Teams.”

Cyberspace squadrons will be equipped to support space missions as well as missions on Earth, including systems relied upon every day.

“Every day, Americans rely on space mission systems for communication, navigation, and the safety and security of our nation and way of life,” said Boatman. “The relationship between space and cyberspace is unique in that all space operations depend on cyberspace. These space missions systems act as the eyes and ears of our national security, therefore our adversaries pose an ever-present threat to these capabilities. Mission Defense Teams are standing up as the first line of defense in this warfighting domain to assure mission success in a contested, degraded, and operationally-limited environment.”