177th Fighter Wing Communications Flight Updates Defense

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hunter A. Hires
  • 177th Fighter Wing

Members of the 177th Communications Flight (177th CF) at the 177th Fighter Wing, here, have bolstered the Wing’s defenses by undergoing invaluable training that pertains to cybersecurity, administration certifications, security certifications, field-related collegiate training and many more versatile tools and techniques.

These cybersecurity measures have made a vast improvement to the 177th FW’s defenses against cyberattacks, security breaches and other forms of malicious attacks on the private details of the unit’s Airmen, as well as the sensitive information that they protect.

“Mr. (Stephen) Hillmann and Mr. (Sebastian) Zelazny have already put into practice what they learned at their Microsoft courses,” said U.S. Air National Guard Capt. Richard A. Ryan, 177th Communications Flight commander. “They have created Structured Query Language databases and PowerShell scripts to more accurately and powerfully scan, check and patch over 1,000 machines on base for vulnerabilities.”

While some members of the 177th CF have bolstered cyberdefense against outside forces, others have turned their focus inward, taking on training to reduce the likelihood of data leaks from within the 177th FW.

“Ms. (Leona) Santiago and Tech. Sgt. Timothy A. Washington have passed the Certified Authorization Professional certification, a difficult IT certification to obtain. With this certification, they perform the Wing’s Risk Management Framework package, which both acts as a living document of all the systems and policies on base and keeps our circuit from being turned off,’ said Ryan. “Mr. Hillmann’s Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification has made a huge difference in how he views the CF and the Information Technology equipment, security practices, both physical and logical, and user policies. Mr. Hillmann has been able to advise leadership on complicated IT issues and provide practical solutions to enable the safest environment, while still providing the best user experience possible.

The value of military training is indubitable, but knowledge obtained through collegiate training can be just as useful.

“Staff Sgt. Jordan Wisser, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, has enabled himself to take on more advanced roles in the CF Plans shop, where he deals with inventory, purchasing of equipment, and project management of every CF project,” said Ryan. “There’s lots of paperwork and technical issues that his degree has prepared him for.”

All of these feats, accomplishments and courses amount to much more than defense in relation to the benefits that they bring to the 177FW.

“All of these achievements have strengthened the Wing as a whole by providing knowledgeable, competent and proficient individuals to support the Wing mission, day-to-day operations and better customer support,” said Ryan.

The 177 CF has made their presence known across the base for exceeding training expectations.

“It makes me feel great, excited and confident in my workforce,” said Ryan. “I want to brag about them and their successes, because I know they’re not easy (to achieve), and that many don’t pass these IT industry certifications. It is a goal of mine to get as many CF members Microsoft certified as possible. To me, it only makes sense to have Microsoft experts assisting Wing personnel with our Microsoft Operating Systems and other Windows products. Why wouldn’t you want that? It is also a great feeling when you see them applying the new techniques they learned to the network, and making improvements that seemed impossible only weeks earlier.”

To name more accomplishments by CF personnel, Mr. Randall Rivers, Airman 1st Class Julian Alicea and Airman Andrew Pronovost have all received their CompTIA Security+ certification, a global certification that validates the skills to perform core security functions, said Ryan.

With progression in training and certification, the 177th Communications Flight has bolstered the 177th Fighter Wing’s cybersecurity measures drastically. Airmen like these allow the United States Air Force to hold on to the title of “World’s Greatest Air Force” with ease.