In a “DOD Live“ bloggers roundtable yesterday, Maj. Gen. Michael J. Basla, vice commander of Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., stressed how the United States is under constant attack by adversaries who use the Internet to launch attacks.
“There“™s a great threat to American security out there in the cyberspace domain, and it’s real, it’s significant, it’s persistent, and we are under attack every day,“ he said.
The defense of U.S. networks is essential for citizens to conduct day-to-day activities, in the commercial sector, the public sector, and the military sector, Basla noted.
The Air Force has looked at its core capabilities and determined how to best meet the Department of Defense“™s requirement to counter cyber threats, the general said. That starts with teaching new officers and enlisted airmen how to fight on the digital battlefield, he added.
Basla said all of the service“™s original cyberspace officers had to have technical degrees before being admitted to the cybersecurity program. Now, only about 80 percent need them.
“We wanted to have tech, math, science, and engineering degrees, but we were advised that there are some folks that could come from the social sciences that could contribute — you know, something about looking at the problem a little differently,“ he said. “So we’ve allowed for some exceptions.“
Interest in the field has increased generally, he said, because the young people enlisting and enrolling at the Air Force Academy have grown up with computers, at least in their schools.
“There’s a great deal of interest, I will tell you, and that’s the encouraging thing,“ Basla said. The next generation of cyber airmen “want to understand what their responsibilities will be, and how they can get involved,“ he added. “And so I’m encouraged about that.“