Military News

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Panetta, Barak Discuss Iron Dome Success, Israeli Defenses

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the performance of the Iron Dome air defense system during a press conference here today.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the performance of the Iron Dome air defense system during a Pentagon press conference, Nov. 29, 2012. DOD photo by Erin Kirk-Cuomo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Panetta said the Iron Dome system, which was developed by the Israelis and funded in large part by the United States, prevented war following hundreds of recent Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip. The two men spoke to reporters after meeting at the Pentagon.

“I’m very proud that our two countries cooperated so closely to field the Iron Dome anti-rocket system,” Panetta said, noting the system performed remarkably well during the rocket onslaught. “It intercepted more than 400 rockets bound for Israeli population centers, for a roughly 85 percent success rate overall,” he said.

“Its success is a testament to the ingenuity of the Israeli people and to the commitment of the United States to Israel’s security,” he said. “Today, I assured the minister that our strong commitment to Iron Dome will continue into the future.”

The U.S. provided $70 million in fiscal year 2012 funds for the system, on top of the $205 million previously allocated, Panetta said, noting DOD will continue to support the system in the future.

“We will obviously continue to work together to seek additional funding to enable Israel to boost Iron Dome’s capacity further and to help prevent the kind of escalation and violence that we’ve seen,” Panetta said.

Iron Dome prevents wars, Panetta said, but Israeli and Palestinian leaders must sit down and resolve their differences for real peace in the region.

Barak thanked the United States for the funding to deploy the Iron Dome batteries.

“We highly appreciate your plans to help us in the future on the same issue, because the needs are much larger than what we have right now, and we are determined to complete the system, besides the operational offensive capacities of the Israeli armed forces,” Barak said.

Panetta and Barak also spoke about relations between the two nations, and touted the strength of the U.S.-Israeli partnership. Panetta said it is the strongest he has ever seen, describing it as based on shared values and also “on the iron-clad commitment of the United States to Israel’s security.”

Panetta said the United States strongly supports Israel’s right to defend itself and strongly condemned the rocket attacks launched by Hamas against Israel.

“We are encouraged that the cease-fire agreement has held,” he said.

The secretary stressed that the United States will continue to work with Israel and Egypt to end the smuggling of arms into Gaza. “No nation should have to live in fear of these kinds of attacks,” he said.

Panetta and Barak also spoke about the Iranian nuclear danger. Both nations have continuing concerns over Iran’s destabilizing activities and its nuclear program. Panetta reiterated that the United States will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“Iran is facing unprecedented pressure from the … crippling sanctions that have been imposed by the international community,” he said. “And I continue to believe that there is time and space for an effort to try to achieve a diplomatic solution, which remains, I believe, the preferred outcome for both the United States and for Israel.”

Barak said the United States and Israel share the same beliefs in freedom, liberty, democracy and human dignity. The United States, he said, is a “moral beacon” to the people of the turbulent region. “We are highly appreciative of this role,” he said. “We always keep the right to defend ourselves by ourselves on time where it’s needed, but I think that the role of the United States is invaluable in our region.”

Before leaving Israel, Barak announced he will retire from political life. Panetta paid tribute to his Israeli counterpart, praising “his brilliant strategic mind,” which “stems from his warrior heart and his warrior experience.”

The secretary pinned the DOD Medal for Distinguished Public Service on Barak.

High School students learn 'medicinal air power'

by Airman 1st Class Victor J. Caputo
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


11/29/2012 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Ten students from the local McPherson High School visited the 22nd Medical Group for a tour of the facilities and a chance to speak to Airmen about the decisions made leading up to their current career path Nov. 28, 2012.

The students were able to experience firsthand many of the jobs they can to pursue after high school, including dental work, physical therapy and laboratory work.

"I'm really interested in doing radiology, so seeing [the] radiology department was really cool," said Adam Winkler, McPherson High School student.

During the course of the tour, the students spoke with medical personnel ranging from Airmen who have been on-station for less than a year to officers with almost 30 years of experience.

"I love getting to show off my job to those who are interested," said Tech. Sgt. Jean Epperson, 22nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron Flight Medicine NCO in charge. "I think that a lot of people assume that the military way of doing medical care is radically different than in the civilian sector when in all actuality, it is very similar."

Tours like this are meant to promote face-to-face connections between the community and Team McConnell.

One topic that was continually mentioned by every group that spoke to the students was education and how to obtain it.

"It's great how they told all of the kids about the benefits of an advanced education," said Andrea Clark, McPherson High School health-science teacher. "They showed us all the different ways you can get a degree."

Although the training for the military medical career field is often long and strenuous, it can have a gratifying payoff.

"The medical career field is a very rewarding job," said Epperson. "You can honestly change peoples' lives on a daily basis."

87th LRS Airman swears allegiance, attains dream

by 2nd Lt. Alexis McGee
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs


11/28/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen ..."

Senior Airman Jorge Contreras, 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron materiel management journeyman, was full of nerves on the morning of Nov. 16, 2012.

Contreras' nerves melded with his excitement as he was about to become a United States citizen in a star-studded ceremony live on the "Today Show."

Contreras, a Peruvian native, has served in the U.S. Air Force for the past four years, but had known for years he wanted to become a citizen.

"I feel like I'm already a citizen," he said. "The ceremony is more of a formality."

"... that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;"

Contreras' quest to become a citizen began in 2010 after he ultimately decided that U.S. citizenship was what he desired.

"I had already lived in America for eleven years when I decided to become a citizen," said Contreras, who calls Elizabeth, N.J., home. "I was raised in this culture so I feel like I'm a part of it. I know this is where I want to raise my family."

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services department contacted Contreras two months after he submitted his application for citizenship. They informed him they were looking to process his application and invited him to attend the "Today Show's" live citizenship ceremony.

"I felt really excited about it," he said. "They saw something in me and I felt really humbled that they called me."

The "Today Show" crew traveled to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Nov. 8, 2012, once Contreras' chain of command gave him approval to be on the show.

"I was nervous at first when the crew came down," Contreras said. "But then I realized all they wanted to see was me and you can never be nervous about yourself. Once I got to know the team in person, all my nervousness went away."

The "Today Show" team invited Contreras' mother, Luz Reque, and girlfriend, Karla Espinoza, to attend the show and watch as he made the life-changing declaration.

"I am extremely proud of him," said Espinoza. "I know he tries really hard at everything he does so I feel it is something he deserves."

Espinoza is also working on renouncing her Ecuadorian citizenship to become a U.S. citizen.

"... that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law;"

Nine coworkers and fellow Airmen also traveled to New York City to support Contreras.
"This is a pretty big deal for him," said Staff Sgt. Aldrine Estrella, 87th LRS material management craftsman. "I went through the same thing a few years ago so I know how big of a deal it is to become a U.S. citizen."

Estrella is a Filipino native who earned his U.S. citizenship in 2010. He said he encouraged Contreras to do the same, but was quick to point out that Contreras' independent nature made it so he didn't need much encouragement.

As Contreras scanned the spread of muffins, fruit and bagels the "Today Show" team laid out before the ceremony, he couldn't help but smile in appreciation for what was to come.

"I feel honored that we're doing the ceremony live on the 'Today Show,'" said Contreras. "My mom is here, my girlfriend is here and all the Airmen are here. I feel so honored."
The 38-degree temperature did not stand in the way of the excited soon-to-be U.S. citizens who anxiously awaited the ceremony at Rockefeller Plaza.

"Once they got everything in motion I said to myself, 'forget the cold,'" he said. "I was very happy to get my citizenship in front of my family."

Contreras became a U.S. citizen along with 29 other immigrants, and can now enjoy all the rights of the country he has fought to preserve.

"It feels awesome to now be able to take advantage of all the rights I've been defending," said Contreras, who enlisted in the Air Force at age 21. "To me, it is less of an official title and more of a commitment."

A little more than one week later, Contreras said he is happy he became a citizen and wouldn't change the way he made his commitment to the U.S.

With his commitment to the U.S. in his heart, at the forefront of Contreras' mind throughout the whole process was his family.

"A lot of doors just opened for me and now I am ready to explore them and make my family proud," he said.

"... and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

JB Charleston stays fit throughout winter

by Senior Airman Dennis Sloan
Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs


11/29/2012 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Whether it's jumping rope, running, performing squats or push-ups, the community members at the Joint Base Charleston - Air Base Fitness Center are not letting the cooler fall weather put a freeze on their fitness regiments.

The fitness center offers CrossFit classes every week for community members looking to break out of their rut of just lifting weights or hours of cardio.

"We are all volunteers who take turns teaching and running CrossFit classes throughout the week," said Senior Airman Michael Sellers, a volunteer CrossFit coach from 315th Airlift Wing.

The one-hour classes consist of several different exercises such weightlifting, calisthenics and running.

"We rarely do the same workout from one day to the next," said Master Sgt. Steven Hart, 628th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant and volunteer CrossFit coach. "The whole point of CrossFit is to not get in a routine - we use muscle confusion to stay fit."

Whether a person has been performing CrossFit for years or has no experience, the coaches guide them throughout the workout.

"If someone is new we make sure to take them to the side and demonstrate the exercises so they do not hurt themselves," said Sellers. "We encourage everybody to come out and try CrossFit."

CrossFit classes are held Monday through Friday at 6 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. A class is also held Saturday at 10 a.m.

"I recommend that people try the class more than once," said Sellers. "It took me about three sessions to really understand it and get into a groove. Once that happened I was addicted and have not stopped."

The CrossFit classes are open to anyone who is able to use the fitness centers on base.

The Fitness Center offers several other fitness classes including Yoga/Pilates, step aerobics, spin and even Salsa classes for those that like to dance their way to a healthy lifestyle.

· Yoga/Pilates- Monday and Wednesday from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.
· Step Aerobics- Monday and Wednesday from 9 to 10 a.m.
· Spin- Wednesday and Friday from 6:15 to 7 a.m.
· Salsa- Tuesday at 6 p.m. for beginners and 7 p.m. for intermediate.

For more information regarding the CrossFit classes and other fitness classes at the Air Base Fitness Center call 963-3347. The Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station Fitness Center also hosts several fitness classes to include: circuit training, Yoga, High Intensity Interval Training and Zumba. For more information on fitness classes at the Weapons Station Fitness Center call 764-4173.

Comedian Brings Humor To Safety Stand Down At Naval Air Station Jacksonville



By Kaylee LaRocque, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs

NAS JACKSONVILLE, FL (NNS) -- A safety stand down was held for Commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) and Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) Sailors and civilian employees to remind them to make smart decisions to stay safe over the holiday season.

"This is a particularly dangerous time of year. We had 35 vehicular fatalities within the Navy last year, 20 of those were motorcycle accidents. Of that total, seven were within Navy Region Southeast. Any number above zero is too many," said CNRSE Rear Adm. Jack Scorby Jr. "It's about taking care of yourselves, your shipmates and your families. So look out for one another and be careful out there on the roads."

CNRSE/NAS Jax Safety Officer Ron Williamson also offered some advice to the audience. "There always seem to be more accidents in the holiday season than during the rest of the year. So this safety stand down is a good reminder for everyone to be more vigilant to safety measures, not only on the roads but at home," he said.

The guest speaker for the event was Steve Verret, a master traffic safety instructor and professional stand-up comedian. Verret, who has taught driver safety for more than 25 years, used humor to relay important information regarding vehicle insurance, measures to take to avoid accidents, seatbelt use, open container laws, drinking and driving and using cell phones while driving. As the crowd laughed at his jokes and answered his questions, they took away a wealth of information regarding traffic safety.

Verret stressed the importance of not using cell phones while driving.

"Cell phones are the new DUI. I think they are more dangerous than drunk driving because those who drink and drive normally know they are doing something wrong but those drivers talking on cell phones or texting don't think they are doing anything wrong," said Verret.

"It may or may not be against the law in certain states but when you are on the phone while driving, you are not focused on the road. And, cell phone usage can be used in liability cases if you have an accident so you may not get compensation or someone else may get more compensation," he continued.

For Verret, conducting safety stand downs for military members is an important cause.

"I try to positively reinforce safety every time I conduct one of these events. No matter how many times you tell someone not to drink or drive and to wear their seatbelts, there are still those who either ignore this advice or just don't get it," said Verret. "I try to reach military personnel through these presentations because they do so much for our country and I think it's a shame that someone puts their life on the line overseas and then they come home and do one thing carelessly in their vehicle and they either lose their lives or are injured."

Scorby concluded the stand down by stating, "We have the finest Navy military and civilian forces and I'm proud to serve with you. We need to have all of you back following the holiday season so be careful out there and remember the reason for the season."

Holiday Safety Standdown Held at Guantanamo Bay



By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Justin Ailes, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Key leaders at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, hosted the annual winter holiday safety stand-down at the installation's Bulkeley Hall auditorium, Nov. 27-28.

Officials at the naval station conduct two safety standdowns per year in an effort to promote safety awareness; one at the beginning of summer and one before the winter holiday season.

"We're here to discuss mishap precautions and prevent off-duty accidents," said NS Guantanamo Bay Executive Officer Cmdr. Colin Caswell. "Realistically, Sailors need to care about themselves and what they're doing, because any mishap will affect mission readiness."

Among the myriad of topics discussed, the stand-down focused mainly on suicide prevention, motor vehicle safety and residential risks associated with the holiday season.

"It is a very stressful time during the holidays," said NS Guantanamo Bay Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) Counselor Senior Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Matthew Murcin. "Statistically, the military sees a 'spike' in the number of suicides during the holiday season. As of Nov. 1, there have been 54 reported suicides in the Navy. Whether or not it's stress, depression or other factors, we as leaders need to be aware of the warning signs associated with suicide and take the necessary actions to prevent it."

As part of suicide prevention awareness, service members in attendance were presented with handouts outlining the Navy's Ask, Care, Treat (ACT) policy and the warning signs associated with suicidal behavior.

"It's important for us to watch out for everyone and know that we can lower the suicide rate around us," said NS Guantanamo Bay Fleet and Family Support Center Educational Services Facilitator Lara Tur. "The unique position we are in at GTMO is that we have a very 'close-knit' community and we can all look out for each other."

During the standdown, attendees were also informed about the risk factors associated with fatigued holiday travel, and the dangers of drinking and driving and overall alcohol abuse.

Service members were also advised to take the necessary precautions when using holiday items such as decorative lights and "turkey fryers."

"Overall, we are concerned with holiday accidents and how it affects readiness," said Caswell. "This stand-down is targeted to keep you safe and provide you with useful tools you may need during the holidays."

Top 10 Emergency Preparedness Gifts



Great holiday ideas that show you care

Many of us struggle with finding just the right gifts for our friends and loved ones during the holidays. ReadyWisconsin has some great gift ideas that not only help others get ready for emergency situations, but that also say you care and you want them to be safe.

Here is our ReadyWisconsin Top 10 List:

1)  Emergency Weather Radio: A NOAA weather radio is like having your own emergency siren in your home. It is one of the best ways to protect your family in the case of a disaster. Emergency radios are a 24-hour source of weather forecasts, watches, warnings and other emergency information. You can purchase emergency radios for around $30 at most electronic stores, hardware stores and even neighborhood drug stores.

2) Winter Weather Survival Kit: Everyone should carry a winter survival kit in their vehicle. In an emergency it could save your life and the lives of your passengers. It should include:
           flashlight with extra batteries
           shovel
           water
           snack food including energy bars and raisins
           matches and small candles
           extra hats, socks and mittens
           first aid kit with pocket knife
           blankets or sleeping bag
           road salt, sand or cat litter for traction
           booster cables
           emergency flares and reflectors
           fluorescent distress flag and a whistle to attract attention
You can make your own kit or purchase kits at hardware stores and online retailers. And remember, each of these kit items make a great “stocking stuffer”. 

3) Cell Phone Adapter:  “Murphy’s Law”…the moment you need to use your cell phone to make an emergency call is the moment you have no power left in your battery. Giving someone a cell phone adapter to plug into a car lighter is a great way to say you care. 

4) Home Emergency Kit: In an emergency, basic services (electricity, gas, water, etc.) may be cut off for days or even weeks. You may be stuck in your home during that time or evacuated at a moment’s notice. You probably won’t have time to shop or search for the supplies you need. That’s why it is important to have your own fully-stocked disaster kit ready. The kit should include items like:
           water
           non-perishable food that doesn’t need electricity for storage or preparation
           flashlights with extra batteries
             first aid kit
           pet supplies

5) Enrollment in a CPR or First-Aid Class: Call your local American Red Cross or American Heart Association chapter to find a class near you or your loved ones. 

6) Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Many people know that smoke detectors save lives in a fire. But did you know that carbon monoxides can save you from the "silent killer". Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can be generated by improper ventilation of furnaces, generators and other devices. According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, with more than 20,000 people visiting the emergency room and nearly 500 killed each year from overexposure to the gas.

7) Fire Extinguishers: Give one for the kitchen, another for the garage, a third to keep in your car. 

8) Foldable Ladder: Keep it near a second-story window for quick escape in a fire

9) Pet Disaster Kits: Your pets will need food and water in a disaster just like you. Leashes and a carrying case or crate for safer transportation and housing during a disaster is also a good idea.

10) Battery Powered Lamps: Not only great for camping but perfect in an emergency when the power goes out and you need a lot of light.

And one more idea! As you gather with family and friends this holiday take a few minutes to discuss what they will do in the case of an emergency or disaster. This includes developing a simple family communications plan and identifying how you would get in touch with loved ones and where you might meet if you are separated when an emergency or disaster takes place.

Face of Defense: Airman Swears Allegiance, Attains Dream


By Air Force 2nd Lt. Alexis McGee
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J., Nov. 29, 2012 – An 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron airman assigned here was full of nerves on the morning of Nov. 16, as he was about to become a U.S. citizen in a New York ceremony broadcast live on NBC’s “Today" show.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Senior Airman Jorge Contreras sits with group of immigrants preparing to take the U.S. citizenship oath live on NBC’s "Today" show, Nov. 16, 2012, at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Alexis McGee
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Senior Airman Jorge Contreras, a materiel management journeyman and a native of Peru, has served in the U.S. Air Force for the past four years, but he said he has known for years that he wanted to become a citizen.
 
“I feel like I’m already a citizen,” he said. “The ceremony is more of a formality.”

Contreras’ quest to become a citizen began in 2010. “I had already lived in America for 11 years when I decided to become a citizen,” said Contreras, who calls Elizabeth, N.J., home. “I was raised in this culture, so I feel like I’m a part of it. I know this is where I want to raise my family.”

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department contacted Contreras two months after he submitted his application for citizenship and invited him to attend the “Today" program ceremony.
“I felt really excited about it,” he said. “They saw something in me, and I felt really humbled that they called me.”

An NBC crew traveled here Nov. 8, once Contreras’ chain of command approved.

“I was nervous at first when the crew came down,” Contreras said. “But then I realized all they wanted to see was me, and you can never be nervous about yourself. Once I got to know the team in person, all my nervousness went away.”

The “Today" team invited Contreras’ mother, Luz Reque, and girlfriend, Karla Espinoza, to attend the show and watch as he made the life-changing declaration.

“I am extremely proud of him,” Espinoza said. “I know he tries really hard at everything he does, so I feel it is something he deserves.” Espinoza, a citizen of Ecuador, also is working toward U.S. citizenship.

Nine co-workers and fellow airmen also traveled to New York to support Contreras.
“This is a pretty big deal for him,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Aldrine Estrella, an 87th LRS materiel management craftsman.

“I went through the same thing a few years ago, so I know how big of a deal it is to become a U.S. citizen,” Estrella said.

Estrella, a native of the Philippines, earned his U.S. citizenship in 2010. He said he encouraged Contreras to do the same, but was quick to point out that Contreras didn’t need much encouragement.

As Contreras scanned the spread of muffins, fruit and bagels the “Today” team put out before the ceremony, he couldn’t help but smile in appreciation for what was to come.

“My mom is here, my girlfriend is here, and all the airmen are here,” he said. “I feel so honored.”
The 38-degree temperature did not stand in the way of the excited soon-to-be U.S. citizens who anxiously awaited the ceremony at Rockefeller Plaza.

“Once they got everything in motion, I said to myself, ‘Forget the cold,’” Contreras said. “I was very happy to get my citizenship in front of my family.”

Contreras became a U.S. citizen along with 29 other immigrants, and now can enjoy all the rights he has fought to preserve.

“It feels awesome to now be able to take advantage of all the rights I’ve been defending,” said Contreras, who enlisted in the Air Force at age 21. “To me, it is less of an official title and more of a commitment.”

With his commitment to the U.S. in his heart, at the forefront of Contreras’ mind throughout the whole process was his family.

“A lot of doors just opened for me, and now I am ready to explore them and make my family proud,” he said.
 

AFCYBER takes part in second USCYBERCOM Cyber Flag exercise

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


11/21/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- 24th Air Force, the U.S. Air Force's cyber component to U.S. Cyber Command, took part in the Cyber Flag 13-1 training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Oct. 29-Nov. 8.

USCYBERCOM designed Cyber Flag to bring together Department of Defense cyber and information technology professionals to hone their cyber skills against a realistic adversary in a tactical virtual environment.

"Our increasing dependency on reliable and efficient network connectivity and the growing threat posed by cyber adversaries highlight the importance of practicing combined operations in defense of the DOD information infrastructure," said Capt. Christian Mapp, 24th Air Force exercise branch chief. "As the service provider for Air Force networks, 24th Air Force participation with the other service components is critical to ensuring a synchronized and coordinated approach to DOD network defense being available and capable should the need ever arise."

Mapp said the Air Force assembled a total force team comprised of more than 70 active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard cyber warriors from across the nation.

This year's Cyber Flag was larger than the first Cyber Flag held in 2011 on the same cyber range. This year's exercise saw approximately 700 participants, up from last year's 300, and doubled the network size. All participants had a specific role to play, playing the part of a U.S. team or role-playing an adversary.

"Exercises like Cyber Flag test participants' readiness when faced with a realistic cyber event in a stressed environment against a dynamic and skilled adversary. This was not a simple 'capture the flag' event," said Col. George Lamont, director of USCYBERCOM Joint Exercises and Training.

The exercise included an opposing force whose mission was to penetrate and disrupt the computer networks of the "good guys," or Blue Force - made up of DOD cyber service components.

Lt. Col. Jamie Maki, 24th Air Force chief of exercise and training chief, said Cyber Flag is designed to provide realistic training opportunities for a number of DOD commands to deter and, if necessary, defeat a cyber attack. Additionally, much like Red Flag is to the air world, Cyber Flag aims to give cyber operators experience with tactics, techniques and procedures of our cyber adversaries and test our own tactics, techniques and procedures. The teams were given opportunities to coordinate actions across the offensive and defensive spectrum as well as partnering with our sister services.

Despite this only being the second Cyber Flag, Maki said some of the key successes of the exercise included such efforts as the integration of cyber intelligence analysts proving invaluable to the mission planning cell, ultimately enhancing the defensive posture and virtually eliminating stovepipe efforts. Additionally, the collaboration between teams detecting cyber intrusions and first responders leveraged tactical insights and skill sets yielding greater synergy and mission effectiveness. Finally, the exercise partnered service teams with coalition partners highlighting the global nature of the cyber domain.

"Through the use of a virtual network environment, individuals supporting Cyber Flag benefited by gaining exposure to problem sets they may not normally experience in their day-to-day jobs. Furthermore the event affords the opportunity to work in concerted effort with their sister-service counterparts to operate and defend DOD networks across the full spectrum of operations against a realistic adversary," Mapp explained.

Cyber security continues to be a priority across the government. The DOD has a critical role in developing and supporting the nation's cyber security efforts.

"Cyber Flag highlights the interconnected nature of the DOD information infrastructure, making the key takeaway from Air Force Cyber Command's participation in Cyber Flag the necessity to demonstrate a holistic approach for clearing the net and securing the high ground," said Mapp.