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USCYBERCOM commander recognizes top AF cyber operators
Lieutenant Col. Bernard Cruz, 24th Air Force deputy director of plans, policy and requirements, greets Army Gen. Keith Alexander, U.S. Cyber Command commander, during the general's visit to 24th Air Force Oct. 18. Alexander spend much of the day with 24th Air Force and its subordinate units at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to share key insights, highlight ongoing challenges and lay out his vision for where the nation's cyber missions are headed. The general also recognized nine top Air Force cyberspace operators during his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christine D. Millette)
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USCYBERCOM commander visits 24th Air Force

Posted 10/21/2011   Updated 10/25/2011 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Scott McNabb
24th Air Force Public Affairs

10/21/2011 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The commander of U.S. Cyber Command visited 24th Air Force and some of its subordinate units at Lackland AFB, Texas, Oct. 18.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, USCYBERCOM commander, spent time with 24th Air Force leadership, the Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team, the 90th Information Operations Squadron, and the 91st IOS, and while there presented his commander's coin to several cyberspace operators to thank them for exceeding standards and going above and beyond in their missions.

"It was a real pleasure to have General Alexander on site with the 24th Air Force/Air Forces Cyber team," said Brig. Gen. Burke "Ed" Wilson, 24th Air Force Air Component Coordination Element director. "His willingness to share key insights, highlight ongoing challenges, as well as laying out his vision for where the nation's cyber missions are headed was invaluable."

Alexander took the opportunity to obtain an update on efforts to support the warfighter from his Air Force component, according to Col. William Burton, 24th Air Force chief of staff. He also gave insight on where USCYBERCOM sees cyberspace operations heading.

"His visit gave 24th Air Force the opportunity to express to our combatant commander that the Air Force component is representing the new and key cyber and intelligence missions with pride," said Burton. "This was reinforced with General Alexander recognizing several of our outstanding cyber operators on his tour of 24th Air Force and its wings."

Those recognized for their performance were from different operational units across the command. From the 624th Operations Center, Staff Sgt. Erica Tolliver was recognized for playing a pivotal role in planning and setting-up 24th Air Force's initial Cyber Command and Control Conference. By hosting more than 60 Air Force Network Operations command and control leaders, the C2 think-tank improved more than 45 Air Force Network Operations issues enterprise wide. Additionally, she helped coordinate 24th Air Force support to Pacific Command after the Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami. She also helped in enabling 70 successfully remotely piloted aircraft missions.

Airman 1st Class Derrick Henicke from the 624th Operations Center was recognized for being a leader amongst his peers. He has proved himself in one of the operations center's busiest branches by prepping senior duty officer online briefings, coordinating USCYBERCOM tasking orders, tracking network outages, providing mission assurance and issuing Air Force Global Information Grid situational awareness reports.

Staff Sgt. Timothy Todd, also from the 624th Operations Center, was recognized for co-authoring cyber courses of actions that were ultimately approved by the Secretary of Defense. He drafted SECDEF executive orders, finalized four missions and projected full-spectrum operations strategic objectives that resulted in the execution of 865 missions. He aided the Missile Defense Agency, wrote a cyber control order and coordinated with five sites which initiated network freeze and assured U.S. deterrence.

The final 624th Operations Center individual recognized was 1st Lt. Michael Stamat. The lieutenant was ranked number one out of 216 students in his Air and Space Basics Course. He developed an eight-hour Cyber Weapons Instructor Course class that integrated critical AFCYBER capabilities and established training for the first cyber weapons school graduates. He led the design of a strategy evaluation program, drafted 22 exercise injects and scenario and crew aid that enhanced combat mission ready process for 18 other operators.

Three individuals were recognized from the 67th Network Warfare Wing. Second Lt. Daniel Gunter was recognized for his accomplishments as acting flight commander for two months. The flight performed well in three high-visibility projects under this leadership and Gunter had been previously recognized by Air Force Space Command and 24th Air Force leadership for his achievement. He engineered a $3 million relocation design, researching and procuring an existing building - thus eliminating a projected military construction $37.5 million. Gunter also guided a $1 million virtualization project which reduced hardware power use by 75 percent and slashed $7 million in annual operation and maintenance funds.

Also from the 67th NWW was Senior Master Sgt. Alyssa Wade. Wade piloted the 26th Network Operations Group Unit Compliance Inspection prep by reviewing 26 programs and identifying more than 250 errors which increased compliance from 27.7 percent to 93.7 percent. She assessed Central Command forward operating bases and identified 162 vulnerabilities and modified 25 techniques, tactics and procedures which boosted security and prevented attacks. She directed 13 Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn equipment shipments by moving command and control into the Area of Responsibility in less than half the average time while protecting AOR operational security.

The third airman recognized within the 67th NWW was Staff Sgt. Desiree Lozano. She provided the 24th Air Force commander with detailed Electronic Systems Security Analyst mission information. She managed $310,000 in unit funds, ensuring requests were processed timely, which provided operating locations and squadron personnel essential equipment and supplies. Lozano prepared a cyber operations crew with a clear, concise mission plan and enabled their execution of a time sensitive mission. Lozano was also recognized as a top performer at Airman Leadership School with the John L. Levitow Award for leadership.

Alexander also recognized members of the 688th Information Operations Wing on his visit. Senior Airman Patrick Stevens was a member of the first network defense team in a Red Flag exercise, one of the Air Force's largest multi-discipline exercises. He documented 19 cyber techniques, tactics and procedures and 61 lessons learned, enabling cross-domain kinetic and non-kinetic integration. He also executed a new tactics development initiative for defense against malicious e-mails, greatly reducing the Air Force network's susceptibility to one of its top threats.

Tech. Sgt. Santiago Blea performed as the requirements lead supporting an information technology task force which provided communication support leading to 24th Air Force being declared fully operationally capable. He developed and processed more than 30 technical solutions within one week resulting in the numbered air force being poised to support the new cyber mission. He facilitated more than $100,000 in purchases to help meet the critical Air Force timeline for the relocation of people, equipment and the cyber mission from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to Lackland.

"General Alexander noted on several occasions how impressed he was with everyone he had the opportunity to meet," said Wilson. "So, hats off to the entire team for all they do and representing the Air Force with pride."

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