TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
The 552nd Air Control Networks Squadron and 752nd Operations Support Squadron recently joined together to conduct a cyber-escort mission on the key cyber terrain of a Control and Reporting Center component at Tinker Air Force Base.
A five-person Mission Defense Team crew integrated with a six-person Control and Reporting Center crew providing real-time defensive cyber operations for the live control of aircraft.
The MDT is the 552 ACW’s response to advanced persistent threats to Wing weapon systems in cyberspace. Postured to actively secure, defend, and protect E-3 & CRC data and systems, MDT operators respond to threats and mitigate their effects in order to ensure the delivery of decisive command and control managed by these platforms during joint, allied, and coalition operations.
The CRC is a mobile, scalable, ground-based, integral element of the U.S. Air Force’s theater air control system, providing persistent battle space awareness and tactical battle management command and control. It is a complex weapon system with a myriad of network-based connections that must display accurate and reliable information without interference from cyber threats.
This cyber escort mission builds upon previous integrated operations the Mission Defense Team crew performed with Control and Reporting Center units at Hill and Mountain Home Air Force Bases. The mission prepared both crews for a cyber-contested and degraded environment and is a prime example of multi-domain integration.
Missions involving multi-domain integration are invaluable to both MDTs and CRCs by providing the closest insight to what real-world conditions may bring to the crews. This integration allows for MDT to become more proficient in finding and responding to system anomalies on a live network, while learning how to handle them in real-time. With the MDT sitting alongside, CRC crewmembers have another resource to help them troubleshoot any anomalies by staying in direct communication with MDT who is tapped into their network.
More integrated missions and exercises will only strengthen the communication between both teams, allowing both to operate seamlessly together and more efficiently in a contested battlespace.