Air Force to add cyberwarfare training

New recruits will learn the basics, but officers and enlisted personnel could opt for a more advanced, undergraduate-level program.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney

U.S. Air Force recruits will be trained in the basics of cyberwarfare, according to statements made by four-star Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler.

Though details of the plan are still being worked out, according to the Associated Press, the Air Force intends to provide brief training sessions on cyberwarfare to new recruits, most likely an hour or two, to cover the fundamentals. The training would cover basic principles, such as the use of firewalls and passwords, according to Kehler.

The general, who runs the Air Force Space Command at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, spoke about the planned cyberwarfare training at the 26th National Space Symposium on Monday.

"We teach them at basic training fundamentals of an M-16 (rifle), for example, and an M-9 (pistol), and so we want them to know the fundamentals of the computer network that they're going to be operating in," Kelher said.

Although recruits will only have basic training, officers and enlisted personnel could opt for a more advanced, undergraduate-level program in cyber operations, said the general. Such a program would run for six months and give students more in-depth training on computer networks and vulnerabilities. More specific training would be offered as a follow-up.

The first advanced course would be given to 16 officers, but the Air Force intends to offer several classes each year to reach its goal of having 400 officers skilled in cyberwarfare annually.