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Air Force School Zones in on Cyber Defense

Air Force School Zones in on Cyber Defense - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Walter Givhan
Air Force School Zones in on Cyber Defense - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Walter D. Givhan

During an Oct. 27 “DOD Live” bloggers roundtable, Air Force Brig. Gen. Walter D. Givhan, commandant of the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, discussed the importance of cybersecurity and the newest crop of students graduating from the AFIT Center for Cyberspace Research.

AFIT has since its inception in 1919 focused on researching and expanding the technology available to the U.S. military, beginning with flight.

“Even at that time, there was a new technology — flight, the ability to fly,” Givhan said. “Part of what had to be core to us in dealing with this new technology was education — education and research — and that we couldn’t just depend upon others, but it had to be part of what we were doing, directly connected to us.”

AFIT has added graduate-level cybersecurity education and research to its academic offerings, he said. Some training and research already exist, but AFIT will now offer cyber-related master’s degrees and doctorates.

“What we are doing is truly continuing education — it’s not training,” he said. “We’re educating [students] on the capabilities, with a little bit of hands-on work as well on particular technology and capabilities within that technology. But it’s not like we’re giving them a specific cyber weapon and teaching them how to fire or use that specific cyber weapon.”

Cyber 200 and Cyber 300 are two main courses that provide students with slightly different looks at cyber operations. Cyber 200 is aimed at field-grade officers and some non-commissioned officers with six to eight years of service and some experience in the cyber domain. The more advanced 300 course is geared toward higher-ranking officers with 12 or more years of total service with at least six of those years working with cyber issues, Givhan said.

“These are the folks who are actually going to be helping make this happen in terms of what the joint force commander needs and how to integrate our cyber capabilities into his plan and to accomplish his objectives,” he said.

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