BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Monday marked the beginning of a new era for Keesler Air Force Base as airmen began taking classes on cyber warfare. The Biloxi base is the official cyber training headquarters for the entire Air Force.
The commander of the 81st Training Wing, General Ian Dickinson, welcomed the 95 young airmen to the class, and reflected on the important task ahead of them.
"When you are my age, looking back on your careers in the Air Force, you can say I was there on day one, October 5th, when the first fundamental courses started," General Dickinson told them.
The students will spend the next six months undergoing intensive training. Eventually, they will be stationed all over the world. In essence, their job will be to make sure the military's computers are not hacked. The consequences of such an act could be devastating.
"An organization like Al-Qaida is on the network, I promise you," said Michael Gainey, supervisor of instruction for the program. "They know they cannot beat us in a conventional war, so they have learned to adapt to other types of warfare and the network is one of them."
Keesler will train an estimated 4,500 students in cyber warfare this year. The ultimate goal is to protect and defend, whether it be on the battlefield or in front of a computer.