Installations play an important strategic role within a multi-domain battlespace. Threats to mission previously were air, ground or sea based and largely occurred within a defined area of operations.
Historically, troops are into harm’s way and focus heavily on protecting those installations and missions; however, there was typically less concern state side as there were minimal threats to installations and the strategic support they provide to the fight.
This focus has changed. Installations, as initial warfighting platforms for maneuvering weapons systems and supplying downrange missions, are now under increased risk due to technological advances and creative adversaries. The proliferation of cyber-threat capabilities puts installation defense squarely at the forefront.
As the strategic center for Acquisitions and Research & Development for the Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is one of the most cyber-attacked installations in the Air Force. Previous efforts in cybersecurity took a compliance-based approach, but a 99 percent compliance rate still allows for a single successful phishing attempt and a single unpatched vulnerability to create a cyberattack.
Theft of intellectual property would diminish competitive advantage in warfighting and impede ability to support downrange missions, which could be the difference in a war with a near-peer adversary.
The new focus is now on mission assurance of critical missions that are essential to warfighters. This focus is a wholesale transformation of communications units as they transition from Information Technology service delivery to defense of key cyber components supporting the mission.
Mission assurance is not solely cyber though. Energy in support of critical missions should also never be taken for granted. Acquisition and research and development missions depend on assured energy sources to enable the critical strategic missions at Wright Patterson AFB. A disruption of any kind, whether man-made or natural disaster, can impede the mission.
Physical or cyberattacks against critical infrastructure supporting the installation could alter the early course of a conflict, tilting the advantage to adversaries.
Every year during October, attention is focused on both cyber and energy assurance. For the 15th year, October has been National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and for 28 years, it has also been Energy Action Month.
Wright Patterson AFB recognizes the significance of both efforts to focus attention on practices and measures that bolster cybersecurity and energy resiliency to provide mission assurance of critical strategic missions.
Throughout the month, the 88th Communications Group and 88th Civil Engineering Group hold events and trainings to raise awareness. The registration site for Cybersecurity classes is https://cs2.eis.af.mil/sites/er/0204/SitePages/Home.aspx.
WPAFB Energy Action Month information is available at https://cs2.eis.af.mil/sites/21020/wpafb/cen/cenp/cenpe/energyaware/default.aspx or contact the Energy team at WPAFBEnergyOffice@us.af.mil.
Every individual on the installation is an important component to assuring critical Air Force strategic missions. Through awareness and education of cybersecurity and energy assurance efforts, we can together assure the future of aerospace!