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616 OC demonstrates cyber capabilities to ACC leaders

An officer in uniform briefs leadership in uniform around a table.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command and Command Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, Air Combat Command, participate in a tabletop exercise with Information Warfare Airmen during a visit to the 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) Headquarters at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, March 3, 2021. The 16th Air Force is the first-of-its-kind Numbered Air Force that integrates multisource Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, cyber warfare, electronic warfare, information operations, and weather operations capabilities across the conflict continuum. (U.S. Air Force photo by Vincent Childress)

Airmen in uniform type on computers in an operations center.

Airmen from the 616th Operations Center work to protect the Air Force Information Network from vulnerabilities, March 3, 2021, at 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) Headquarters, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The OC focuses on using cyber and intelligence capabilities to help maintain and protect the Air Force Information Network 24/7. (U.S. Air Force photo by Vincent Childress)

An officer in uniform briefs leadership in uniform in a room.

Capt. Joshua Miller, chief of Air Force Information Network plans, briefs U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command and Command Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, Air Combat Command, during a visit to the 616th Operations Center at the 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) Headquarters, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, March 3, 2021. The OC activated in March 2020 and integrates cyber and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Vincent Childress)

Military Training Instructors stand on bleachers in front of general in uniform.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, speaks to military training instructors after the U.S. Air Force basic military graduation and coining ceremony March 4, 2021, at the Pfingston Reception Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Approximately 35,000 Airmen and Guardians graduate yearly from the 7.5 week Basic Military Training course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Basic trainees in uniform march in front of leadership.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, and Command Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, Air Combat Command, congratulate Airmen and Guardians during the U.S. Air Force basic military graduation and coining ceremony March 4, 2021, at the Pfingston Reception Center on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Kelly addressed and administered the Oath of Enlistment to Basic Military Training graduates during his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - LACKLAND, Texas -- U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command and Command Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, Air Combat Command, visited the cyber and intelligence Airmen of 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber), here, March 2-4.

The 616th Operations Center Airmen demonstrated their role in monitoring and maintaining the Air Force Information Network to the visiting leaders during a 616 OC cyber tabletop exercise demonstration and a series of cyber and Intelligence briefings.

“There is no doubt that malicious cyber actors are looking for places to drop malware, use malicious code or make deliberate efforts to gain information through various networks,” said Capt. Joshua Miller, Chief of AFIN plans. “Air Force networks are not exempt from these malicious efforts.”

The 616 OC is comprised of career fields ranging from cyber operators to intelligence officers, who protect and maintain the AFIN from malicious actors.  

During his briefing Miller, described the 616 OC as overseeing two functions: cyber and Intelligence and Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR).  The cyber function splits into three capabilities: offensive cyber operations, defensive cyber operations and networks operations.

“Just as there are Air Operations Centers focused on air operations, we are the Operations Centers that focuses on cyber operations,” said Miller.

The tabletop exercise focused on the defensive cyber capability, which consists of reactive cyber actions, and the network capability, consisting of network maintenance.

Exercise participants witnessed first-hand how a tasking order starts with U.S. Cyber Command and then flows to the OC for command and control. This C2 gives AFCYBER the ability to issue cyber tasking orders.

Miller explained the processes used by AFCYBER to remediate cyber vulnerabilities and detect indications of compromise across the AFIN. The processes include exercising operational C2 over AFCYBER forces, directing patching and remediation efforts of Air Force Major Commands, collecting mission results returned to OC, assessing the data and reporting any indicators of compromise to higher headquarters.

Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander, stressed the importance of leadership receiving a bird’s-eye view of how Information Warfare Airmen deliver outcomes for the nation.

Kelly concluded his visit to the 616 OC with several coin presentations for outstanding performers and by commending Airmen who bravely continued missions during the recent winter storm crisis.  

He finalized his tour with a visit to the 37th Training Wing where he attended the Basic Military Training parade and graduation.