Securing the Air Force Network

While the Air Force has come a long way with its cyberspace operations, challenges from potential adversaries continue to increase, Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command, told attendees of AFA’s Pacific Air & Space Symposium in Los Angeles on Thursday. The service has evolved from the “patchwork” approach it formerly had to protect its network, he said, praising 24th Air Force for doing an “exceptional” job of defending against cyber intrusions. Policy and operational changes have made a difference, and the Air Force is now collaborating with the Army and Defense Information Systems Agency to build a joint information environment, said Shelton. The Air Force also has a better handle on where network threats emanate, and it now has only 16 gateways across its network to the Internet, making it much easier to monitor and detect intrusions, he said. The service is also increasing its “automated defenses,” he said. There is still the “epidemic problem” of airmen sending personally identifiable information from the “.mil” military domain to the commercial “.com” domain, he said. “We have got to stop the practice of releasing personally identifiable information,” said Shelton.