Keesler Prepared For Cyber Training

BILOXI (WLOX)--Various computer classes have long been an integral part of Keesler's training. The advent of the new cyberspace command places even more emphasis on training so-called "cyber warriors".

Col. Prince Guilliard is commander of the 81st Training Group.

"Our goal in cyber is to protect and defend the information. When we send information down range, we have to be able to trust that information is accurate and it hasn't been distorted by any of our enemies," he explains.

Preparations for the cyberspace command have been both organizational and technical. An upgraded server system is part of a new "virtual lab" that improves both function and efficiency.

"If you kind of notice the noise and the heat in this room, this actually used to be in the classroom. So, just imagine how loud you would have to talk for eight to nine hours," says system administrator John Ledet.

The transition to cyberspace training involves combining some career fields and placing added emphasis on computer capabilities.

Jason Motte is one of the computer instructors at Keesler.

"Some of the software they gave us enables us to give a student more of an entire network to run, versus one computer. So, they get the full spectrum; a broader look at things," said Motte.

Whether or not Keesler is chosen as cyber command headquarters, the Biloxi base will be prepared for the new cyberspace mission.

"Oh, it is a significant change. And we are the only service with that actually in our mission statement. So, the Air Force mission statement now is to fly and fight in Air, Space and Cyberspace," said Scott Solomon, the new 333rd Training Squadron Commander.

Keesler will serve a critical role in training the next generation of "cyber warriors".

Keesler is in the running with several other Air Force facilities competing to be chosen as headquarters for the new cyberspace command.

A decision on choosing the headquarters site isn't expected until sometime next year.

The headquarters designation brings quite an economic impact. It is expected to create 500 new jobs immediately and thousands more support positions over the first few years.