16th AF cyber warriors teach cyber security awareness Published Aug. 1, 2023 By Matthew McGovern JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO- KELLY, Texas -- Five 16th Air Force cyber Airmen spoke to middle and high-school students from local schools about the basics of cybersecurity during the CyberPatriot Summer Camp, July 17-28, at Tech Port Arena. CyberPatriot, an Air Force Association program, aims to inspire kindergarten through 12th grade students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields important to the nation’s future. Hosted by the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, the camp held courses focused on cybersecurity careers, cyber ethics, computer functions and online safety. Instructors emphasized the importance of cybersecurity regardless of the student’s future interests. “Even if you don't go into a career field where you’re coding, using software, or conducting computer engineering, you still should have cyber education,” said Capt. Brandon Webster, a volunteer instructor from the 16th Air Force, A5 Cyber Operations. Webster said everyone should have a significant amount of cybersecurity knowledge since most of today’s vocations use computers. “Let's say you have the best firewalls in the world,” Webster said. “You're setting up that perimeter and believe no bad guys are getting into these systems. You still need emails for these companies to operate; these emails sometimes have links, files, and images which may go right through the security once they click that link, and they may have access to the computer.” Webster and the other instructors also discussed cybersecurity principles, Windows security tools and monitoring, and linked them to the students’ career interests. “I see their eyes widen and the light shine whenever you're talking to them about certain things that they're familiar about,” said Webster. Airman 1st Class Reynaldy Reynoso-Peralta, 616th Air Communications Squadron, cyber surety apprentice, told the students, “Your experience with video games can help with cyber because it’s very similar.” Reynoso-Peralta said, as a cyber surety apprentice, he sits in front of a monitor, learns different acronyms, and communicates through digital technology across the world, the same way people interact with video games. The students can use this cybersecurity insight for their future careers. “Listening to their experiences was interesting to me, and I learned a lot about securing computers,” said Isairua Dehoyos, from Central Catholic High School. “This information will be helpful, since I want to be a mechanical engineer.” “He [Webster] gave us important advice to protect ourselves, and with all networks connected to the internet internationally, you're never truly safe,” said Daniel Trang, from Medina Valley High School. The Airmen enjoyed engaging the students and understand that the youth they instructed are key to the future of maturing information warfare and driving modernization, two 16th Air Force priorities. “It’s essential the military supports programs like this because this is the next generation to serve this country; we want to invest in the future,” said Reynoso-Peralta. The 16th Air Force headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, focuses on information warfare in the modern age. Information Warfare requires integrating: Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance; Cyber Warfare; Electromagnetic Warfare; Weather; Public Affairs; and Information Operations capabilities. 16th Air Force ensures that our Air Force and Nation are fast, resilient, and fully integrated in competition, crisis, and conflict by incorporating Information Warfare at operational and tactical levels, capitalizing on the value of information by leading the charge for uniquely-21st century challenges in the highly dynamic, seamless, and global information domain. To learn more about the CyberPatriot Program, go to https://www.uscyberpatriot.org/.