Air Force activates new cyberspace defense unit

Air Force combines space and cyberspace under single command

The Air Force has activated a new communications organization that will support the Air Force's Space Command, a new command that combines space and cyber-space operations under one organization. The new 689th Combat Communications Wing, headquartered at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, specializes in deployed communications.

The wing will play a support role in combat theaters where resources are sparse, such as Afghanistan, and in humanitarian aid operations, according to the Air Force. The dedicated cyber command, the 24th Air Force, reports to the Air Force Space Command. The Air Force created the cyber command this year, and it became operational Aug. 18.

“As we activate the Combat Communications Wing, that fills in a critical niche,” Maj. Gen. Richard Webber, commanding general of the 24th Air Force, said at a commemorative ceremony Oct. 5, according to a report from local news service macon.com. Webber added that the “cyber warriors” would have a “high rate of deployment,” the report said.

The 24th Air Force's integration under Space Command represents a landmark in Air Force operations, combining space and cyberspace under a single organization. Like traditional Air Force units, the 24th is set to provide forces for combat -- but unlike traditional units, these forces can also conduct cyber warfare.

The CCW is the newest of three sub-organizations supporting the 24th Air Force; the other two are the 688th Information Operations Wing and the 67th Network Warfare Wing.

Commanded by Col. Theresa Giorlando, the CCW nationwide will comprise roughly 6,000 active duty, reserve and National Guard airmen, as well as civilian and contractor support from the 3rd and 5th Combat Communications Groups, ten Air National Guard Combat Communications units and four Air Force Reserve Combat Communications squadrons.

“We are going to be the cornerstone for dominating cyberspace,” Giorlando said at the ceremony.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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