SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — In the unprecedented face of a global pandemic, the Air Force has quickly adapted to thrive in a telework environment. At Scott AFB, one team helping to facilitate this new normal is the 375th Communications Squadron Cyber Transporters.
As a section of the 375th CS, dubbed the dragons for their mascot, the cyber transporters mission consists of providing the unified capabilities of integrated voice, video and data services across network infrastructure to ensure warfighter mission effectiveness. Whether it’s directing aeromedical evacuations or tracking inbound deployers and manifest cargo for an exercise, they make it possible. They provide uninterrupted connectivity to command and control mobility aircraft around the world and the critical transportation of information from point A to point B; ensuring that when information is a life-or-death matter, its flow is uninterrupted.
Since the start of the COVID-19 the dragons have been diligently working to ensure the mission can continue unhindered; resolving over 13,000 communication issues in a nine month period.
“A large portion of what our technicians do on a day-to-day basis involves touch maintenance on equipment around the base, as well as switch configurations in the office,” said 2nd Lt. Noralisa Steiner, 375th CS cyber infrastructure officer in charge. “This is work that is difficult and unfeasible to accomplish via telework.”
“We’ve been forced to brave the pandemic on a daily basis,” added Senior Master Sgt. Troy Gant, 375 CS cyberspace infrastructure section chief. “When we reduced on-site personnel to implement social distancing measures, our on-site manning dropped, but our workload didn’t decrease.”
Since the start of the pandemic, they have continued providing support to the base and its mission partners and have forwarded approximately 3,200 phone lines and hosted 70 conference bridges to facilitate telework in support of social distancing.
While the pandemic fast-forwarded the need for telework capability, the future of the Air Force was positioned to be fighting in a digital realm.
Today’s Air Force is a cyber force, said Gant. The capabilities provided by information technology are integrated into everything the Air Force does. It would be difficult to find a mission that these Airmen don’t enable.
Without cyber infrastructure there could be a standstill of information and global missions would be at risk, added Steiner.
You may not always see the effect of the Cyber Transporters, but their work behind the scenes is crucial in keeping the network alive and thriving.
“Every day is a new adventure,” said Gant. “While our work is exhausting, it also exhilarating. Think of cyber transporters as the offensive line on a football team and information as the football. What we do isn’t glamorous, but it’s necessary. We do the tough work in the trenches to ensure the ball is moved down the field. We don’t always get the glory, but we sleep well knowing comms are up.”