Michigan Delegation to National Defense Officials: Choose Michigan Air National Guard to Lead Military Cybersecurity Initiative
Bipartisan, Bicameral Letter Calls for Support of 110th Attack Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard to Host Cyber Squadron
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Michigan Congressional Delegation today united in their support for the 110th Attack Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard in Battle Creek, Michigan, to be named the location of a Cyber Operations Squadron.
In a letter to top officials in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), bipartisan, bicameral delegation members emphasized how Battle Creek Air National Guard Base’s (BCANBGB) unique location and capabilities would best serve and enable the defense department’s cyber security operations to protect the nation and lead this major initiative in military cyber security. The 110th Attack Wing is already home to a pilot program that has trained technicians and has much of the infrastructure required to take on this new mission.
Delegation members also note in their letter that Michigan’s current workforce and universities provide a strong foundation for continuous training of current and future workers. The state already sports a network of highly skilled information technology professionals, qualified DoD personnel, as well as public and private cyber security specialists. In addition, Michigan is home to 22 colleges and universities that offer degrees in cyber security, including five colleges that have earned designations as National Security Agency Centers of Excellence.
The letter, led by Senator Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Fred Upton, is the first product of a bipartisan, bicameral agenda discussed at a February Michigan delegation meeting. The letter was also signed by the entire Michigan delegation: Senator Gary Peters, Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Dan Benishek, Rep. Mike Bishop, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Bill Huizenga, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. John Moolenaar, Rep. Sander Levin, Rep. Candice Miller, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Rep. David Trott, and Rep. Tim Walberg. Governor Rick Snyder has also expressed his strong support of the 110th Attack Wing in their pursuit to host a Cyber Operations Squadron.
The delegation writes in part:Cybersecurity threats are one of the greatest national security challenges we face today. Our future as a nation depends upon a reliable cyberspace for infrastructure, commerce, communications, and government at every level. To counter those determined to cause harm, it is crucial that America has a Cyber Mission Force that can strengthen and rigorously protect this critical infrastructure. As the Department of Defense makes determinations on the final Cyber Operations Squadrons (COS) for Air National Guard Cyber Force Laydown, we would like to express our strong support for the 110th Attack Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard in Battle Creek, MI to host a Cyber Squadron.
The Battle Creek Air National Guard Base’s (BCANGB) unique location and capabilities would enable USCYBERCOM to fulfill its mission at a significant cost savings compared to bases without the same existing infrastructure.
In addition, Michigan’s current workforce and universities provide a strong foundation for current and future recruiting efforts. Michigan has a network of highly skilled IT professionals, qualified DoD personal, as well as public and private cyber security specialists. We also have 22 colleges and universities that offer degrees in cyber security, including 5 colleges that have earned NSA Centers of Excellence designations.
With emerging threats and growing concerns on the cyber battlefield, we recognize the difficult choices you must make in securing a Cyber Force structure that meets our nation’s security needs. Locating a Cyber Operations Squadron at BCANGB will utilize existing infrastructure to keep costs low, and provide significant capabilities in meeting America’s cyber security needs.
The letter was sent to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, General Mark A. Welsh, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, General Frank J. Grass, Chief of Staff for the National Guard Bureau, and Lieutenant General Stanley E. Clarke III, Director Air National Guard.
To read the full letter, please click here.