US Air Force: Cyperspace weapon system operational
Feb. 1, 2016
by Mark Ollig

The ability to protect and defend this country’s military data networks against global cyberwarfare infiltration has been greatly improved.

The Air Force Intranet Control (AFINC) Cyberspace Weapon System is now up and running.

Jan. 7, this new cyberspace weapon system achieved “Full Operational Capability,” or FOC.

It’s armed and ready for action; so beware potential evil-doer, cyberspace hackers out there.

As we know, cyberspace is better known as the Internet.

The Internet is also known as the cloud.

What name it will be known as next, is anyone’s guess.

The AFINC Cyberspace Weapon System’s “battles” will be conducted against those attempting to deceptively gain access, or illegally retrieve information from US military online data networks via a cyberattack.

Instead of physical military artillery, this new cyberspace weapon system’s gateway array uses the power of advanced computer-generated software programming code, written and controlled by its human “cyber warrior” operators.

This cyberspace weapon system will defend all informational data traffic arriving into the Air Force Information Network, from being compromised by unfriendly, cyberspace attackers.

The AFINC is the top-level access gateway into the Air Force Information Network.

The 26th NOS (Network Operations Squadron), located at Gunter Annex, Montgomery, AL, operates the AFINC.

All network traffic which comes into the AFINC via this top-level boundary and entry point, will be defended using the AFINC Cyberspace Weapon System.

Additionally, all internal and external data-traffic operating through the classified AFINC network gateways, will now be centrally managed.

To put my readers’ minds at ease; this humble, cyberspace-writing columnist isn’t disclosing any top-secret military information.

I learned about this reading the public news release from the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) website: www.afspc.af.mil.

“AFSPC’s mission is to provide resilient and affordable space and cyberspace capabilities for the Joint Force and the Nation,” proclaims its mission statement.

Over 35,000 people are serving the AFSPC, in 134 locations throughout the world.

The new AFINC cyberspace weapon system includes a collection of 16 network entrance/access points, or gateways.

What started at 100 entrance/access points was re-configured; through consolidation and replacement of 84 regionally-managed network entry points, there are now the 16 which the AFINC cyberspace weapon system oversees.

A world map posted by the AFINC, shows 10 of these 16 network entrance/access gateways located within the continental US, with one in Hawaii, Japan, South Korea, England, and two in Europe.

This new system also is equipped with 15 nodes (data connection points) for the DOD’s (Department of Defense) top-level and highly-classified data network called: SIPRNet (Secret Internet Protocol Router Network).

DOD information and messages designated as classified, or at the SECRET level, are transmitted over the SIPRNet.

SIPRNet uses the same TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) as the regular Internet we use.

However, this network encrypts its data information, and is separated from all other public networks and communications systems.

To access this highly confidential US government network, one would need to obtain a SECRET, or higher level of clearance.

“Appropriate credentials and two-factor authentication are required. When using the SIPRNet, you must not leave the workstation unattended,” states the Defense Human Resources Activity website located at: www.dhra.mil.

As much as I would like to see it in action, yours truly won’t be accessing the SIPRNet anytime soon.

It was reported over 1 million Air Force users, at 237 sites throughout the world, are now being served by the new AFINC Cyberspace Weapon System.

With this new system, the mission operation of the 26th NOS has been updated to include: “intelligence gathering, cyberspace surveillance and reconnaissance, interdiction, and security.”

Perhaps with some futuristic cyberspace foresight, George Washington said the following 260 years ago; “There is nothing more necessary than good intelligence to frustrate a designing enemy, and nothing requires greater pains to obtain.”

“This is a great achievement for the Air Force and the first cyberspace weapon system to achieve FOC. We look forward to continued rapid progress and maturation of the Air Force Cyberspace mission,” said Brigadier General Stephen Whiting, HQ AFSPC Director of Integrated Air, Space, Cyberspace and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Operations.

He added; “As we all know, our mission is to fly, fight and win in air, space, and cyberspace.”

The Air Force Space Command, which began operations Sept. 1, 1982, is headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, CO.

A fact sheet covering its space and cyber systems, launch and space vehicles, and the AFSPC organization list, can be seen at: www.afspc.af.mil/library/factsheets.

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