HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – The Air National Guard has chosen Joint Base Langley-Eustis to host an Air Force Cyber Operations Squadron. It’s major news for our region, and now we’re hearing from one member of the team that made it happen.
Senator Tim Kaine worked with Senator Warner and members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation to urge the Air Force to look our way, and he believes this decision to do just that couldn’t have come at a better time. Since learning in April that the Air Force was re-aligning forces associated with the B-1 away from Joint Base Langley Eustis, the team of local and state leaders have been hard at work to bring jobs back. They sent one letter after another to the Director of the Air National Guard. Finally, some good news.
“Cyber security is one of the greatest challenges we face as a country, and this decision emphasizes the important role Virginia will continue to play as our nation responds to cyber threat,” said Kaine. “JBLE and the Commonwealth are proud to host this cyber squadron and support a mission critical to US security.”
Approximately 70 airmen will soon be assigned to a new cyber operations squadron in Hampton Roads. The squadron will be a combination of full-time Virginia National Guard Airmen and traditional drill status Guard Airmen who normally train one weekend a month. The squadron will have both federal and state missions. The cyber operations squadron’s primary federal mission will be cyberspace mission defense protecting Air Force and U.S. critical infrastructure against cyber attacks. As part of the state mission, the unit will be available to assist state and local government agencies with vulnerability assessments to help improve network security.
Kaine says being located here could help in the long-run. “We have the ideal combination of a supportive community in Hampton Roads and extensive Air Force presence along with the top defense and technology companies close by,” said Kaine.
They’re hoping this will help sell a new and growing industry sector in Hampton Roads. As for the military, 13 additional cyber units across the country are planned by the end of 2019.