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Military

Air Force graduates first network warfare class

by 1st Lt. Ashley Conner
39th Information Operations Squadron


12/13/2007 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFPN) -- The first Undergraduate Network Warfare Training Class graduated Dec. 7 here representing the Air Force's expansion into the domain of cyberspace.

The course, developed and taught by members of the 39th Information Operations Squadron, represents the most comprehensive network warfare training available in the Air Force.

"Given the importance of cyberspace to modern operations across all warfighting domains, control of the cyber domain has become critical to military operations," said Lt. Gen. Robert J. "Bob" Elder Jr., the 8th Air Force commander. 

Airmen were trained on the fundamentals of all aspects of network warfare in a 38-day, high-intensity course. The UNWT course educates students on the basics of warfare in cyberspace, ensuring students are exposed in a hands-on manner to realistic scenarios.  

The course was developed to take a nontraditional approach to network warfare, training students to recognize and respond to attacks not only over conventional networks, but also to look to other arenas that are susceptible to attack. Training includes operational principles of radio, television, telephone and other non-conventional means of communication, ensuring the Air Force continues to dominate all facets of the electromagnetic spectrum.

"The Air Force has a number of Airmen (both officer and enlisted) actively conducting operations in cyberspace and the Air Force is committed to establishing a professional cadre of cyber operators," said Maj. Gen. William T. Lord, the commander of the Provisional Air Force Cyberspace Command. "UNWT is designed to support these evolving cyber requirements and is an excellent example of how the Air Force is moving forward to meet its commitment to fly, fight and win in cyberspace."

UNWT is separated into two parts. The first part is an in-depth advanced distributed learning course provided by the 229th Information Operations Squadron officials from the Vermont Air National Guard. This portion of the course makes introductory network warfare training available to those who cannot make it to Hurlburt Field for the course, while also serving as a prerequisite for all UNWT in-resident students.

The second portion of UNWT is in-residence instruction at the 39th IOS at Hurlburt Field that will graduate 96 students a year. Graduates of UNWT then receive system-specific training upon assignment to their next duty station.

UNWT students are put through various mission simulators and network emulators to prepare them for what they will see when defending Air Force networks. To graduate, students must demonstrate the ability to create and execute a plan of action based on a given mission task and then follow up with execution analysis to assess the results.

"This course develops the network fundamentals to help us defend our networks and attack enemy nets when directed," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Yatsko, a UNWT student assigned to the 67th Network Warfare Wing in San Antonio. "We are in a warfighting mindset, a war being fought across the networks."



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