Cyber unit supports Haiti relief

Airman 1st Class Landon Greenwood helps buckle in a young girl being evacuated on a C-17 Globemaster III to the U.S. Jan. 19, 2010, from Port-au-Prince, Haiti,. The C-17 aircrew had delivered 90,000 pounds of cargo and was boarding 36 evacuees in support of Operation Unified Response.  Airman Greenwood is a loadmaster with the 3rd Airlift Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Del.  (U.S. Air Force photo/2d Lt Abigail Wise)

Airman 1st Class Landon Greenwood helps buckle in a young girl being evacuated on a C-17 Globemaster III to the U.S. Jan. 19, 2010, from Port-au-Prince, Haiti,. The C-17 aircrew had delivered 90,000 pounds of cargo and was boarding 36 evacuees in support of Operation Unified Response. Airman Greenwood is a loadmaster with the 3rd Airlift Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Airmen from the 561st Network Operations Squadron provided critical network support to directly enable Haiti relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/2d Lt Abigail Wise)

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- An M1120 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Load Handling System backs into a C-17 Globemaster III from the 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, Del. Jan. 19.  Personnel from Langley and U.S. Army Fort Eustis worked together to load the C-17 as part Operation Unified Response to aid Haiti after the earthquakes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Zachary Wolf)

An M1120 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Load Handling System backs into a C-17 Globemaster III from the 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, Del. Jan. 19. Airmen from the 561st Network Operations Squadron provided critical network support to directly enable Haiti relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Zachary Wolf)

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Silently but steadfast, the 561st Network Operations Squadron Airmen provided the critical network support required to allow more than 400 C-17 Globemaster III sorties to deliver aide workers and supplies and evacuate Americans from earthquake torn Haiti, starting Jan. 13.

The 561 NOS, located on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., a sub-organization to the 67th Network Warfare Wing located here, is one of two Air Force Integrated Network Operations and Security Centers. The squadron delivers combat support and guarantees command and control, global network connectivity, and information assurance for Air Force Network Operations and Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations.

"The Airmen of the 561 NOS are working tirelessly behind the scenes to support Operation Unified Response by integrating the mission critical Department of Defense networks and partnering agencies supporting earthquake victims in Haiti," said Lt. Col. Albert Yates, 561 NOS commander.

Following the 7.0 magnitude quake on Jan. 12, the 561 NOS immediately committed itself to limiting the number of network service interruptions that could disrupt Air Mobility Command's ability to conduct operations. These interruptions, normally scheduled for system upgrades and maintenance were minimized in order to provide effective precision engagement to the relief effort.

The 561 NOS, which is responsible for defending AMC's portion of the Air Force network against cyber intrusions, increased defensive measures to allow air mobility forces the ability to operate their systems without the threat of cyber attack during this high ops period. This directly enabled the C-17 sorties flying out of Dover AFB, Del., and Scott AFB, Ill.

The 561st NOS also linked the U.S. Customs and Border Protection units in Haiti to the Air Force network to allow more rapid evacuation and processing of American earthquake victims along with easing the ability to funnel casualty reports to the proper agencies state-side.

This is the 561 NOS' first involvement in a large-scale humanitarian effort since its stand up in 2006.