Airmen should expect new cybersecurity training in January

After cutting back on the required training airmen must complete each year, the Air Force is adding in a few more requirements.

Starting in January, the airmen will have to complete more cybersecurity education.

“It’s more reinforcing the healthy cyber culture and making sure they are making smart decisions when they’re on a terminal or on a keyboard, that they are doing the things they need to do for mission,” Air Force Chief Information Security Officers Peter Kim told Federal News Radio.

Kim said throughout the year the Air Force will work on educational campaigns to improve cybersecurity awareness and culture.

Kim would not say how many hours the training will be, but said it will “hopefully be long enough where they get it, where they understand the threat and the vulnerabilities and the new way they should be operating in cyberspace.”

Improper cyber hygiene is a leading cause for breaches in the military.

Pentagon officials said 80 percent of cybersecurity breaches are caused by defensive lapses like poor user behavior and failure to apply software patches.

In an attempt to tighten ship, last year the Defense Department implemented the DoD Cybersecurity Culture and Compliance Initiative. The program was a new regime of no-notice inspections, mandates for commanders to incorporate real-world cyber scenarios into all of their unit training and a yet-to-be-determined amount of spending to make military networks more defensible, based on the premise that every dollar spent on up-front security prevents $7 of costs in fixing a breach after the fact.

Still, the new cyber requirements come right as the Air Force cut back on the amount of training airmen have to complete due to the burden it placed on them.

The service identified 15 standalone training courses in October to completely eliminate by 2017. It also consolidated 16 courses and requested relief from five Defense Department mandated courses.

“After having heard a lot of these concerns and just given the pressure in terms of manpower that we have in the Air Force and the increasing demand for what the Air Force does … the focus was ‘How do we provide an opportunity to give a little bit more white space on the calendar to these individual Airmen to do the work they were brought in to do supporting our mission?” Gabe Camarillo, Air Force assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs told Federal News Radio. “It’s a concern not only to every individual airman that we hear from, it’s also a concern from a readiness perspective.”

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