The Air National Guard and Air Force Space Command graduated the first class from the Cyber Skills Validation Course during a ceremony held March 29, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.
The 20 Airmen in this class represent the leading edge of a concerted Air Force effort to train and develop the Airmen needed to fulfill future cyber missions.
The Cyber Skills Validation Course is designed to tap into the wealth of skill that reserve component Airmen already possess through their civilian careers, and turn them into the mission-capable troops in high demand by state and national leaders.
“This course builds on the knowledge, skills and ability that students have previously learned and validates that they have what it takes to serve in the cyber warfare career field,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, 189th Operations Group Detachment 1 director of operations. “We are very proud of the students and we have the utmost confidence in our graduates being successful.”
The seven week long course consists of training in several critical mission areas, including digital forensics, industrial control systems and vulnerability assessments – curriculum that the formal technical training course covers over seven months.
“I want to be able to take a cyber warrior out of any technology company, put them into our work force and validate the skills they already have,” said Director of the Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice. “I also want to be able to take young Airmen just joining the Guard and make them cyber warriors from day one. We should be able to adapt to both ends of that spectrum; we’re innovative. We’re Airmen. And that’s why I’m so excited to be able to look these Airmen in the eye, present their cyber wings, and say ‘Thanks for stepping up to the challenge.’”
Placing the course in the care of the 189th Airlift Wing, based at Little Rock AFB, made financial sense for the Air Force.
“The ANG had an existing secure facility, which made it the perfect location for a cyber mission,” said Anderson. “Additionally, with the infrastructure on Little Rock Air Force Base and its long history of training, it made perfect sense.”
The ANG anticipates it will graduate 60 Airmen from the course in Fiscal Year 2017, with that number expected to increase to 80 graduates per year beginning in 2018. Following the CSVC, Airmen go on to Initial Qualification Training and Mission Qualification Training courses.