The Air Force continues to invest to increase its cyber capabilities and earlier this month announced the launch of its first cyberspace weapon system, code-named Air Force Intranet Control (AFINC).
The Air Force Intranet Control is a defensive system that analyzes all traffic coming in the service’s network, it receives data from more than 100 entry points on regionally managed Air Force networks into 16 centrally managed access points that cover all traffic on the Air Force Information Network.
The AFINC weapon system is composed of 16 Gateway Suites that allows the Air Force to monitor all the external traffic and the traffic routed between its bases.
Air Force Intranet Control is also composed of 15 nodes on the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, aka SIPRnet, which is an architecture used by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State to share classified information.
More than 2000 service delivery points and two integrated management suites complete the structure controlled by the 26th Network Operations Squadron (26th NOS) manages it.
“Achieving FOC means the AFINC weapon system is fully capable to serve as the top-level defensive boundary and entry point for all network traffic into the Air Force Information Network. The AFINC weapon system controls the flow of all external and inter-base traffic through standard, centrally managed gateways.” states the Air Force’s announcement.
The system is considered a great achievement for the Air Force, it is a technological jewel that will serve more than 1 million users at 237 sites around the world.
“As the first line of defense for our network, the 26th NOS team is responsible for more than one billion firewall, Web, and email blocks per week from suspicious and adversarial sources,” said Col. Pamela Woolley, commander of the 26th Cyberspace Operations Group. “Our network is under constant attack and it is a testament to the dedication of our 26th NOS team that our network reliability and traffic flow remains consistently high.”
The Air Force is spending a significant effort to integrate cyber and the electromagnetic spectrum into its operations.
“The reason why we need fusion warfare is exactly to maintain our tactical edge. And when I say our tactical edge, I mean the outer boundary of warfight – not just today, but specifically in 2035,” said Maj. Gen. VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson, director of intelligence at the Air Combat Command. “By then, our competitors will probably be near-peer technologically and some will have advanced us technologically.”
Information warfare is overlapping traditional military domains, in order to conduct a fight in the air it is possible to use new hacking techniques as the US Air Force demonstrated.
In October 2015, the Maj. Gen. Burke Wilson, the commander of the 24th Air Force, announced the US Air Force modified EC-130 Compass Call aircraft, normally used to jam enemy transmissions, to hack enemy networks.
“We’ve conducted a series of demonstrations,” “Lo and behold! Yes, we’re able to touch a target and manipulate a target, [i.e.] a network, from an air[craft].” Said the official.
In December, the US Air Force activated five new cyber squadrons involving more than 500 personnel.
(Security Affairs – Air Force Intranet Control, Information Warfare)