An instructor leads a class at the Defense Cyber Investigations Training Academy in Linthicum, Md., in September 2010.
Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung
The United States Air Force is shoring up its cyber defense efforts by adding more than 1,200 new airmen to posts within the cyber community.
The service people, who will be added over the next few years, are part of a broad attempt to improve the nation's overall cyber defense, or protection against attacks against computers and computer networks, Air Force officials said. The extra personnel will also help tackle one of the department's biggest challenges: poring through the massive amounts of collected data.
"This is a big data problem on steroids," said Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, according to Military.com. "If you look at the amount of data that is transmitted every day, it is going to take a tremendous amount of investment."
By strengthening the Air Force's cyber strategy, the military will be able to better support the wider intelligence-gathering community, Otto added.
"This is an exciting time for cyber military planning," he said. "We will see a lot of progress over the next few years."
Yet, the current fiscal environment has created uncertainty throughout the military, even as efforts within the cyber realm continue to grow.
"It is a delicate balance between efficiency and effectiveness," Lt. Gen. Michael Basla, the Air Force's chief information officer, told Military.com. "We will strive to bring greater capability to our warfighters with cost in mind. The demand for full-spectrum cyber capability across the department has increased significantly."
To help meet the country's cyber defense needs, the Air Force is currently trying to identify weaknesses in their current systems.
"We're doing reviews of vulnerabilities of every network," said Gen. William Shelton, commander of the Air Force Space Command.
This includes safeguarding government information while also building new systems to use in the future.
"We want to ensure that Air Force IT capabilities are designed to support Air Force missions and effectively integrate with the joint community," Basla said.