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Air Force selects Ohio base for new Cyber Warfare Wing

Written by  Tuesday, 31 August 2021 07:51
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Washington DC (UPI) Aug 26, 2021
The U.S. Air Force has selected the 179th Airlift Wing base in Mansfield, Ohio, as the location for the Air National Guard's first Cyber Warfare Wing. Col. Todd Thomas, 179th Airlift Wing commander, said in a press release Thursday it would be a difficult transition, but a change that he strongly believes the airmen can make. "Since becoming the wing commander, I have always told

The U.S. Air Force has selected the 179th Airlift Wing base in Mansfield, Ohio, as the location for the Air National Guard's first Cyber Warfare Wing.

Col. Todd Thomas, 179th Airlift Wing commander, said in a press release Thursday it would be a difficult transition, but a change that he strongly believes the airmen can make.

"Since becoming the wing commander, I have always told our airmen we must do everything in our ability to 'keep the front gate open' and flex to whatever mission allows us to be viable well into the future and aligns with National Defense Strategy," Thomas said the statement.

"I am extremely confident our airmen are capable of shifting focus from tactical air-land and air-drop operations to the cyber battlefield. I look forward to what our airmen will bring to the cyber fight," Thomas said.

Thomas added that wing leadership would help members of the unit with the transition to the new operational mission or with seeking new roles in the state or across the U.S. Air Force.

"The Airmen of the 179th Airlift Wing are confident, resilient, and well-suited for whatever the task or mission that comes our way -- today and tomorrow. 'It's the Mansfield way,'" Thomas said.

The U.S. Air Force announced the move Wednesday, which will require approximately 175 additional airmen, along with infrastructure to support the new operational mission.

The Department of the Air Force is also planning in the fiscal year 2022 budget to retire eight aging C-130H Hercules at the 179th Airlift Wing to fulfill its new cyber mission at Mansfield-Lahm Airport National Guard Base.

"Retiring these legacy aircraft will create the fiscal and manpower flexibility required to design and field the future force needed to meet national defense requirements," U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General David Nahom, Plans and Programs deputy chief of staff, said in the announcement.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine praised the move in his own statement Wednesday night.

"I spoke directly with the Secretary of the Air Force today who gave me the outstanding news," DeWine said in a press release. "Ohio is gaining a leading-edge mission that will strengthen the fabric of the military community and further solidify Ohio as a national leader in cybersecurity excellence.

"Not only will this new mission bring more jobs into the community, but it will also spur more economic growth and create new opportunities for industry and academic growth. This is a tremendous win for Mansfield and for the entire state," Dewine said.

In late May, Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander, U.S. Cyber Command, and director, National Security Agency, stressed the growing challenges, such as adversaries moving beyond weak passwords to infiltrating computer systems, and the need to stay ahead of enemy cybersecurity efforts.


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