Four new Cyber Operations Squadrons to step up cyber security in US

10 December 2015 (Last Updated December 10th, 2015 06:04)

The US will open four Cyber Operations Squadrons in Virgina, Michigan, Idaho and Texas in order to enhance its focus on cyber security.

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The US will open four Cyber Operations Squadrons in Virgina, Michigan, Idaho and Texas in order to enhance its focus on cyber security.

In addition to the four squadrons to be operated by the National Air Guard under the US Air Force, the country will have seven cyber units under the army.

The plan is to establish 13 cyber units across 23 states by the end of fiscal year 2019.

The seven new Army Guard Cyber Protection Teams (CPTs) will be activated across Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Four CPTs are already existing in California, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Ohio.

A cyber Information Surveillance Reconnaissance squadron will be set up in California and a cyber ISR group in Massachusetts.

Air National Guard Readiness Center Space and Cyber Warfare Operations Division chief Col. Kelly Hughes said: "This is the beginning.

"This is a massive amount of force structure the Guard has laid into this mission, but this is just the first layer."

Employing 70 personnel, each Cyber Operations Squadron will protect critical infrastructure in the US against increasing cyber attacks.

"The new cyber unit will help ensure we remain on the forefront of this mission and provide new and future opportunities for growth."

In April, it was discovered that the email systems of the White House and the State Department were hacked. In July, a secret email system used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff was violated.

The Syrian Electronic Army claims to have hacked the US Army's main website and the Islamic State's Cyber Caliphate boasts of breaking into social-media sites of US Central Command, according to the National Guard Association of the United States.

Michigan Governor Gov. Rick Snyder said: "Cyber-attacks are an unfortunate reality of a world that is becoming increasingly more dependent on technology.

"The new cyber unit will help ensure we remain on the forefront of this mission and provide new and future opportunities for growth."


Image: Members of a cyber protection unit with the Hawaii Air National Guard conduct cyber defence operations during a training exercise in June. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert Cabuco.