175th Wing activates the 175th Cyberspace Operations Group

  • Published
  • By A1C Enjoli Saunders

Members of the 175th Wing, distinguished guests, family and friends gathered for a ceremony activating the 175th Cyberspace Operations Group, August 21, 2016 at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Md. 

Lt. Col Jori Robinson presided over the ceremony where Brig. Gen. Randolph Staudenraus, 175th Wing commander, handed command to Col. Shawn Bratton, 175th Cyberspace Operations Group commander.

Col. Bratton acknowledges necessity for the 175th COG, "we have just been activated and already have two mobilizations scheduled. We are on the ground floor of the Air Force's newest mission."

The activation of the 175th COG is a historical event not only for the 175th Wing but for the State of Maryland as well. There will be three units to support this mission - the 275th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, 275th Operations Support Squadron, and the 276th Cyberspace Operations Squadron.

The 175th COG will provide cyber command readiness inspections, critical infrastructure and vulnerability assessments as well as support interagency partners. Collectively the cyberspace units will grow to over 300 airmen working together to keep our state and country safe.

"I have seen the unit grow from a small detachment to something magical," said SMSgt. Theresa Hall, 275th Operations Support Squadron superintendent. "Although we have grown in size our overall goal is the same: to protect and defend all of the Department of Defense assets, locally and nationally."

The ceremony also included the re-designation of two additional units within the Cyberspace Group. The 175th Network Warfare Squadron has become the 175th Cyberspace Operations Squadron commanded by Lt. Col. Andrew Wonpat and the 135th Airlift Squadron has become the 135th Intelligence Squadron commanded by Lt. Col. Lisa Cunningham.

"We have phenomenal leadership that has been very supportive throughout these transitions," explained Wonpat.

The Department of Defense networks are probed approximately 250,000 times per hour with more than 100 foreign intelligence organizations attempting to steal information. The U.S. Cyber Command is tasked with defending those networks.

"We have all the ingredients to operationalize the cyber mission," said Col. Kevin George, 275th Operations Support Squadron commander. "Because of our unique situation and support mechanisms we will be able to execute defense, offense and kinetic operations."

The 175th Cyber Operations Group is a great addition to the 175th Wing and will play a critical role in the defense of cyberspace and contribute immensely toward the National Guard's global mission.