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News | Nov. 4, 2021

Historic deployment of cyber forces with Bomber Task Force Europe

ROYAL AIR FORCE FAIRFORD, United Kingdom – In a historic deployment, a U.S. Cyber Command Cyber Protection Team defended critical data on B-1B Lancers assigned to Dyess Air Force Base’s 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron during the Bomber Task Force Europe mission within U.S. European Command’s theater starting Oct. 6, 2021.

The CPT’s support to the Bomber Task Force is a first for USCYBERCOM and represents an evolving relationship with U.S. Strategic Command.

“Cyber defense is essential to the success of our everyday military operations, and a key aspect of integrated strategic deterrence,” said Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the commander of USCYBERCOM. “The Joint Force requires resilient, reliable networks and systems to achieve its missions, and U.S. Cyber Command is persistently engaging to defend in a global, contested cyber domain.”

The team, made up of defensive cyber professionals assigned to Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber (Air Force), mitigated vulnerabilities in the strategic bomber’s mission critical systems to enhance network security and further harden against future malicious cyber activity.

The dynamic deployment of cyber forces is one way USCYBERCOM enables a tightly synchronized defense of strategic bomber systems. Such activity bolsters resilience against cyberattacks by denying malicious cyber actors access to a critical platform.

“Protection of the Bomber Task Force mission is of the utmost importance in every domain, including cyberspace,” said Navy Rear Admiral Thomas E. Ishee, Director of Global Operations, U.S. Strategic Command. “As we seek to deter adversaries in an era of strategic competition, our cyber defenses must be persistent and evolving.”

Resilient, reliable systems are key for agile combat employment around the world, as the Joint Force relies on secure networks to move, shoot, and communicate. One way USCYBERCOM protects critical systems is by defending forward in cyberspace.

“The mission carried out by our team in support of the Bomber Task Force is an example of how the Department of Defense anticipates threats and proactively defends against them,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Tim Haugh, commander of the 16th Air Force and Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber, a component of USCYBERCOM.

The Bomber Task Force Europe mission series incorporates a range of critical capabilities across the European theater’s joint and coalition forces, including cyber.

Not only did the CPT deployment harden an aircraft’s networks, it also represents how integration of cyber defense strengthens global effects of U.S. Strategic Command’s both offensive and defensive capabilities.

“As the threat landscape in the cyber domain continues to evolve, our Airman’s ability to defend forward against cyber threats is an integral part of our nation’s integrated deterrence approach,” said Haugh.