Leadership: Will Hunt Hackers For Food

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November 1, 2007: The U.S. Air Force is looking for work, and the one place they are finding plenty of it is on the Internet. This is a timely development. Since the Cold War ended, there hasn't been a lot for the air force to do. The army, navy and marines get a lot more of what work there is available. It gets worse, as the growing use of UAVs has taken away a lot of recon and bombing work previously done by aircraft. The use of GPS guidance in artillery shells and rockets takes still more work away from the air force. Air force efforts to take control of all UAV development have failed. The other services are determined to maintain control over their growing fleets of unmanned aircraft. All of this has meant less money for the air force, just as there is a growing need for more cash to pay for all those new aircraft ordered at the end of the Cold War.

One area where the air force is finding growing demand, and much less competition, is the Internet. More to the point, Internet security and Cyber War. The air force has had lots of depth in the field of electronic warfare, as they invented a lot of the basic techniques back during World War II. Air force personnel tend to be, more into things geekish. Of all the services, air force personnel took to the Internet more readily, in greater numbers and considerably more depth.

The current Air Force Cyberspace Task Force is being reorganized as the 8th Air Force, otherwise known as the Air Force Cyberspace Command (AFCYBER). The newly established Internet operations organizations will be combined with some of the older electronic warfare ones. The air force already has several Internet monitoring and Cyber War operations, which contain a lot of high priced civilian contractors (many of them former air force personnel who went looking for more money and opportunities in the civilian world.) The air force found that the rapidly expanding adoption of the Internet not only caused a lot of their Internet specialists to go over to the commercial side, but forced the air force to pay much more money to get some of these hot shots back.

Thousands of existing air force electronic warfare specialists will be assigned, or offered, jobs in AFCYBER. This will include units operating U2 strategic reconnaissance aircraft, EC-135 electronic-eavesdropping aircraft, EC-130E Commando Solo radio/TV broadcasting aircraft, and the EC-130H Compass Call radio-jamming aircraft. Since AFCYBER will have over 20,000 personnel, the air force is recruiting officers and airmen from all over the air force for careers in Cyber War jobs.

 


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