688th IOW teams collaborate and compete for Challenge honors

The 688th Information Operations Wing Cybertooth Tiger is the wing's mascot and represents the wing’s fierce drive for delivering “art of the possible,” game-changing capabilities in cyberspace operations. The Cybertooth Tiger’s mission is to deliver proven information operations and engineering infrastructure capabilities integrated across air, space and cyberspace domains. (U.S. Air Force Graphic)

The 688th Information Operations Wing Cybertooth Tigers of Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, are teaming up with the 460th Space Wing of Buckley AFB, Colo., to synergize cyber and space operations in an attempt to take top honors at Air Force Space Command's Guardian Challenge 2010. Top scoring teams will attend the score posting ceremony at Peterson AFB, Colo., May 20 and 21.

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 688th Information Operations Wing is gearing up for Guardian Challenge at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., by hosting a competition of its own.

All five of the 318th Information Operations Group squadrons will compete here April 22. The 23rd Information Operations Squadron, 90th IOS, 92nd IOS, 346th Test Squadron and 39th IOS will battle against one another to see who will take top honors as Cybertooth Tigers for GC 2010.

Master Sgt. James Boyd, 90th IOS acting superintendent, said the competition will consist of a series of network warfare tasks to evaluate the teams' knowledge in forensics, networks, reverse engineering, and logic categories. These tasks are compiled on a five-by-five Jeopardy style board in which the tasks continually become more difficult.

"The Jeopardy board originates from the DEFCON (Capture the Flag) competitions," said Sergeant Boyd. "I had several ideas to populate the board based on my experiences with the Turkey Shoot 2008 and Cyber Gunsmoke 2009 competitions."

Preparing for the competition has not been without difficulty. The 39th IOS is located at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and will not physically be at Lackland for the competition. Tech. Sgt. Michael Connelly, 346th TS lead communications and network analyst, was tasked to obtain a secure connection from Hurlburt Field to Lackland.

"The collaboration was extensive and difficult for this project due to security concerns, (discussing) tactics, techniques, and procedures over a public internet connection, and the logistics of the infrastructure in a (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility)," said Sergeant Connelly. "Multiple players had to work together to ensure connectivity and Internet protocol reservations."

The competition will be monitored and scored by a white-cell team consisting of Jim Collins, 90th IOS senior staff engineer - cyber attack flight, Sergeant Boyd and Tech. Sgt. James Brand, 39th IOS C-Flight non-commissioned officer in charge.

Visiting the 688th IOW will be personnel from the 460th Space Wing, Buckley AFB, Colo. The 460th SW is responsible for the nation's space-based warning capabilities and are matched as a sister wing to the 688th IOW. The two wings are cooperating to exchange information in the subtleties of their respective space and cyber operations.

"I am thrilled for Team Buckley to be paired with (the) 688th IOW," said Col. Clint Crosier, 460th SW commander. "Our excellence in space operations partnered with their expertise on the cyber side makes this a tremendously competitive and professional team."

Echoing Colonel Crosier's thoughts, Col. Bob Skinner, 688th IOW commander said, "Space and cyber operations are a natural fit and the 460th SW and 688th IOW epitomize that relationship. We look forward to taking the Air Force Space Command Guardian Challenge activities by storm!"

The team that comes out on top will attend the AFSPC score posting ceremony at Peterson May 20 and 21, where they will get to meet other top space and cyber teams and crews.