YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio --
The 910th Airlift Wing’s mission statement is, “Combat ready NOW… for tomorrow’s fight!” The 910th Communications Squadron provides digital infrastructure that helps keep the wing combat-ready, but also provides the assets required for day-to-day operations at Youngstown Air Reserve Station.
The 910th CS is made up of Airmen serving within five Air Force Specialty Codes, or jobs, alongside Department of Defense civilians. Although most installation employees only see the Communications Squadron’s work in customer service, providing technology solutions for end-users, the squadron is designed and trains for a wartime function.
“Most people outside the building assume that we all just do the same thing. It’s all Comm.,” said Maj. Russell Whitlock, commander of the 910th CS. “There is a ton of stuff people will never see or hear about that the folks here are dealing with and will increasingly deal with.”
The 910th Cyber Beasts, a nickname for the CS, build and improve information networks to advance communication and information distribution; repair, maintain and supply communication tools; defend and monitor networks of information and secure communication channels; and build offensive capabilities with the newly formed Mission Defense Team concept.
The Communications Squadron’s primary purpose is intended for war, but their skills are honed by the work they do to keep YARS connected safely and securely every day.
“In cyberspace, it (war-time) really doesn’t matter,” said Whitlock. “There are just as many, if not more, bad actors that are affecting things within the CONUS (United States) within normal day-to-day operations at bases here as there are forward-deployed locations.”
Whitlock said that there are a couple of publicly accessible websites out there that you can watch malicious internet traffic, or cyber-attacks, represented as lines on a map in real-time. Attacks come from all over the place and land all over the place.
In a world where malicious actors can use the internet to reach all the way around the planet in a millisecond, Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s Cyber Beasts are behind the digital curtain operating, sustaining and defending the 910th Airlift Wing’s cyber connectivity to information systems, assuring rapid global mobility.