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Barksdale’s Cyber Readiness Confirmed

By By Lt. Col. Curtis Juell 2nd Communication Squadron commander

Upon completion of last week's rigorous Command Cyber Readiness Inspection, the Defense Information Systems Agency inspection team validated Barksdale's classified and unclassified networks as "Outstanding"--the highest rating available on DISA's tiered grading scale. This rating was the result of many months of hard work across the installation where every person on this base contributed to the grade through exercises and increasing their awareness to cyber threats.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in any way with this inspection. One of the key attributes which was highlighted by the inspection team was the responsiveness to questions and issues raised during their visit. They were impressed across the board with Barksdale's proactive Airmen who never shied away from the evaluators, made corrections on the spot and remained professional throughout the demanding inspection.

If you think you were not part of the grade, consider this: As part of the defense-in-depth construct, cyber security starts at the front gate and works its way through multiple nodes to eventually get to any computing device available for a person to log on to the network. In the information technology business, we rely on multiple layers of physical security and access controls to safeguard not only our classified and unclassified protected information, but also our common administrative data. The most challenging area to control is the human element which includes knowing when to apply proper classification markings, removing a common access card or token before leaving the computer, or properly alarming a facility.

Although the DISA inspectors have left the base and this CCRI is done, cyber security is constant. We cannot let down our guard. Our adversaries are always watching for the right moment to strike and as we mix other elements of the base's operations tempo into the equation, we may expose critical information at the wrong time. Continue to remain vigilant by taking the actions you've practiced in the months leading up to the CCRI.

Again, thanks and congratulations for a job well done go to many--from the security forces members checking identification cards at the gate, facility and security managers protecting their buildings and information, functional and client systems administrators eliminating vulnerabilities on the workstations and servers, and information assurance officers ensuring computer security was maintained. Behind the scenes were technicians assigned to the 2nd Communications Squadron working around the clock with administrators on base and at the network operations centers. Personnel at all levels were subject to inspection while they worked at or walked away from their computer, accessed secure areas, or stored electronic information.

Finally, thanks to the commanders and other unit leaders who were actively engaged in CCRI preparation and execution. The lead DISA inspector recognized it and complimented Barksdale's leadership team for their level of involvement during the CCRI. Well done, Team Barksdale, and congratulations on an "outstanding" CCRI!