Science and Technology News

Thursday, March 20, 2014

960th Cyber Group activates new squadron

by 1st Lt. Lori Fiorello
960th Cyberspace Operations Group Public Affairs


3/20/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas  -- The Air Force Reserve Command deactivated the 960th Cyberspace Operations Group - Detachment 2 and re-designated the unit the 426th Network Warfare Squadron in a ceremony March 8 at the Bob Hope Theater here.

The squadron, formerly two detachments designed to house cyber defense Airmen and build to squadron strength, joins the 960th Cyberspace Operations Group here. It now boasts more than 60 Reservists and protects the Air Force's vast network infrastructure from cyber warfare and enemy surveillance.

"I'm honored to take command of this squadron of dedicated cyber defense warriors," said Maj. Rocko Rodriguez, 426th NWS commander. "Our mission, while a detachment, was to produce effects for the Air Force and combatant commands in, through and from cyberspace by employing synchronized network defense operations to detect, respond to and prevent network intrusions. Now, we will do the very same as a squadron at full strength, continuing to provide the best quality protection and security for our Air Force."

The 426th NWS' storied history began under the name 26 Airdrome Squadron in 1943 at Kearney Air Base, Netherlands, as part of 2nd Air Force, serving honorably throughout World War II and earning several outstanding unit awards. Over the years, it has served as intelligence and information operations squadrons, before arriving in Texas as a cyber defense unit.
Rodriguez, who is also an air reserve technician with the squadron, is adding his own piece to the remarkable history of this decorated unit. He is the only one who will ever have served as the commander of the once detachment, which grew to squadron size before a different person could be named commander.
"It's exciting to think I'm the only commander that will ever have been the commander of Detachment 2, but it's even better to be able to build on what we've started," said Rodriguez. "I'm confident in our Reservists to provide unrivaled network strength at this level, as they have always done.

"We are poised and ready to serve by continuing to provide the very best in defensive cyber operations."

The reorganization will now position the 426th NWS under the 960th CYOG, supporting their "Guardians of the Grid" mission of providing combat-ready forces with specialized expertise in the operation and defense of Air Force and Defense Department global information grids.

"We're growing in leaps in bounds from where we were last year, from two detachments to a squadron," said Col. Lloyd Terry, 960th CYOG commander. "We started out small and now just a year later, we have grown the unit to close to 60 and we're continuing to expand that growth."

Those interested in a cyber career should contact Chief Master Sgt. William Fountas at 210-945-7224 or william.fountas@us.af.mil or check out www.usajobs.gov for a listing of current ART positions available.

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