Aviano Air Base, Italy --
Meet U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Diontae West, a cyber systems operations journeyman assigned to the 175th Communications Flight, Maryland Air National Guard. West is currently supporting the 31st Communications Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy.
“Our mission is to provide reliable, secure, skilled, highly available network infrastructure and services,” said West. “My job is vulnerability management – we identify and analyze security vulnerabilities and support the remediation across infrastructure applications on the Air Force network. Because all the networks are connected – every base has to be protected. That is what makes this training important; it helps us make sure we are compatible with everyone else and everyone stays protected.”
The Air Force, like most military organizations, relies heavily on computer and software systems, which makes it crucial to ensure those systems are safe. The cyber systems operations specialists are the ones who help protect it. They enhance Air Force capabilities allowing everyone to continue focusing on their individual missions. CSO’s have a variety of responsibilities to include performing strategic and budget planning for systems hardware and software, supporting information warfare operations within strictly controlled parameters, installing and maintaining servers, as well as common everyday tasks of responding to service outages and network operations interruptions. Overall, they are ensuring current defensive mechanisms are in place, operating properly, and remain secure from adversaries or intrusion.
“This is a good experience because it’s different from the guard mission, they have more resources and responsibilities,” said West. “At home, we primarily support just our base, but here we can assist in supporting other units and allied partners.”
During West’s time here he will concentrate on creating a script to fix a printer spooling issue. The current process requires them to remote into each print server to verify each printer is in a ready state, which allows users to print. The script that West is creating will improve the process allowing it to move a lot quicker.
“He’s playing an integral role in contributing to this training with the 31st Communications Squadron,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Joseph McClary, a network operations technician and West’s direct supervisor, assigned to the 175th Communications Flight, Maryland Air National Guard. “West is doing exactly what we came here to do, learn how they protect their network here and improve process functionality as well as gain best practices that we can apply back home.”