SCOTT AFB, Ill --
A team of instructors from Focal Point Academy conducted a specialized Mission Defense Team Skills Enablement Training program at Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base from July 29 - Aug. 30.
During the five-week span, 14 Airmen from various MDTs representing the 89th, 22nd, 375th, 618th, 87th, 628th, and 60th Communications Squadrons completed a mission-tailored program specializing in cyber defense. These Airmen, representing every MDT in AMC, tailored skills ranging from network traffic analysis to cyber threat detection and mitigation.
MDTs are specialized cyber teams across the service whose primary mission is to defend local installations and critical-mission tasks against cyberattacks. In order to meet the increasing cyberspace-related threats and demands, the Air Force is shifting its focus from operating and maintaining traditional information technology services to stronger offensive and defensive cyber capabilities that support core missions.
The training fulfilled its purpose for the participants, filling in the lines between their professional military education and real world application. “It connected a lot of dots for me," said Senior Airman Nakanishi, 375th CS Mission Defense Operator. "We get a lot of information from our training, but it was a good way to compile it all into an actionable thing.”
Airmen completing the program were able to apply their newly honed skills to fulfill home station requirements. “We went straight from the course into the exercise, and were able to use the skills from the course,” said Tech. Sgt Kenneth McGrew, 618th Air Operations Squadron MDT Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge.
Part of the Department of Defense’s cyber strategy is to compete and deter in cyberspace, while persistently contesting malicious cyber activity in day-to-day competition. Mission Defense Teams are part of that effort, and this training is a key milestone of forward progress.
“We saw direct results of the skills developed in our MDT Airmen who attended when they performed exceptionally in Exercise Mobility Guardian 2019," said Chief Master Sgt. Lance Power, Headquarters Air Mobility Command Communications Directorate Superintendent. "As the Air Force MDT training pipeline continues to develop and unfold, we hope to put together more AMC MDT courses to continue growing and building the cyber defenders we need in our MAF MDTs today and certainly in the future.”