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Tyndall Mission Defense Team declared fully operational

325th Fighter Wing

U.S. Air Force Capt. Courtney Swaney, AFNORTH Cyber Operations chief (left), Col. Michael Hernandez, 325th Fighter Wing commander (2nd from left), Maj. James Johnson, 325th Communications Squadron commander (3rd from left), and 2nd Lt. Tyler Gilmore, 325th CS Mission Defense Team officer-in-charge (right), cut a ceremonial ribbon at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 15, 2018, which marks the MDT’s transition to fully operational. The Air Force announced the Cyber Squadron Initiative in May 2017. Following suit, the 325th CS launched its own pathfinder unit in late 2017 and is now the first operational MDT in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah J. Soliz/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Tyndall’s Mission Defense Team was announced Fully Operational Capable at Feb. 15, 2018.

The MDT is responsible for mission assurance at the base level and focuses on defensive cyber operations of Air Force weapons systems.

In May 2017, the Air Force announced the Cyber Squadron Initiative. This initiative was set forth to train small teams from existing manpower that focus on defensive cyber operations of Air Force weapons systems.

“We were tasked with determining what cyber systems are truly key to the wing’s mission and learning the in-and-outs of those systems,” said 2nd Lt. Gilmore, 325th CS MDT officer in charge. “With that knowledge we were able to posture our cyber defense effectively and efficiently.”

Mission Defense Teams across the Air Force will lessen risks to their corresponding base while improving the cyberspace mission.

"Air Force core missions are cyber dependent, and the complexities and threats in this environment have grown exponentially," said Lt. Gen. William J. Bender, the Air Force chief information dominance officer and chief information officer, in a 2017 statement. "We are leaning forward to tailor the cyber force by leveraging industry partners and the joint information environment to perform basic information technology services, thereby enabling Airmen to move away from a unitary focus on IT service delivery toward a holistic cyberspace approach that includes active mission defense and mission assurance."

The 325th CS dedicated hard work and time in making sure Tyndall and its cyber assets are ready when needed.

“I am proud, honored and humbled to serve with the men and women of this squadron,” said Maj. James Johnson, 325th CS commander.  “This is a mind boggling achievement and I appreciate the hard work you have put in to make this happen.”

The 325th CS has been tasked to set the path and outline what an MDT should look like and how it will operate for future Air Force units.

“A lot went into this. We needed everyone to step up and do little bit more to make this happen. They (325th CS) knocked it out of the park,” said Col. Michael Hernandez, 325th Fighter Wing commander. “We need this capability now more than ever, and you will always be intertwined with the faith of this program across the AF, and for that we are thankful.”