by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
4/7/2015 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The
Air Force Vulnerability Management team, a program office within
Hanscom AFB's Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence
Infrastructure Division, received an Elite 6 Award during a C4ISR and
Networks Conference April 7, 2015, in Crystal City, Va.
The 25-member team was recognized for its efforts within the cyber field, one of six main categories of awards.
Elite 6 Awards recognize advancements in technology and capability
development within the Command, Control, Communications, Computers,
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, mobile and IT network
"It's an honor for this team to be recognized for its dedication to
delivering a cyber warfighting capability to the Air Force network
enterprise when it was needed," said Capt. Weldon Hobbs, the program
manager for the Vulnerability Management team at the time.
Simply put, the mission of the Hanscom-based team centers on detecting
and remediating cyber vulnerabilities that could adversely affect the
Air Force's Information Network.
While the list of accomplishments that led to the special recognition is
long, the most notable achievement is the fielding of a brand new cyber
capability known as the Assured Compliance Assessment Solution. ACAS is
a product suite that provides network and application vulnerability
scanning as well as device configuration assessments and network
discovery. It affords warfighters at more than 200 bases worldwide the
ability to detect cyber vulnerabilities such as backdoors and latent
software/firmware defects 24/7 and in real-time.
"This was a huge undertaking," Hobbs said. "We applied this defense
capability to one of the largest cyber networks in the world, and we're
among the first in the Department of Defense to do it."
To achieve this feat, the Vulnerability Management team employed an
innovative strategy by acting as its own system integrator, which is now
a proven acquisition model for the Air Force and other DOD programs.
Instead of relying on industry, the team designed, tested and deployed
ACAS completely in-house and in turn, saved the Air Force approximately
In addition to ACAS, the Vulnerability Management team also deployed the first-ever AFNet Linux patch management system.
"We're exceptionally proud of this pathfinder system," said Michael Kaplan, Air Force Networks Systems Branch chief.
The system allows Airmen to remotely and efficiently distribute ACAS
updates using satellite servers, a capability that could be leveraged by
other Air Force Linux-based IT systems to push updates. The effort also
resulted in a $1.5 million a year sustainment cost savings.
"It is vitally important that we in the cyber acquisition community
figure out ways to get state-of-the-art capabilities into the hands of
our cyber warfighters as quickly as possible," Kaplan said. "Captain
Hobbs and his team took a bold, organically-manned approach that did
just that. The team did a fantastic job designing, testing, deploying
and operationalizing the ACAS system, and it is extremely gratifying to
see these folks recognized for their efforts. Most importantly, the Air
Force networks are better protected."