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    188th Intelligence Support Squadron Members Participate in Razorhack Cyber Challenge Competition

    188th Intelligence Support Squadron Members Participate in Razorhack Cyber Challenge Competition

    Photo By Maj. Jennifer Gerhardt | Four members of the 188th Intelligence Support Squadron, at Ebbing Air National Guard...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Jennifer Gerhardt 

    188th Wing

    Four members of the 188th Intelligence Support Squadron, at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Arkansas, competed against 27 teams in a two-day cybersecurity competition in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Nov. 3 to 5.

    The team, consisting of Tech. Sgt. Donald McKellip, Tech. Sgt. Brandon Wheeler, Staff Sgt. Tommy Patton, and Senior Airman Dalton Landrum, was carefully selected for their expertise, interest in the event, and the needs of the squadron.

    “The team size was capped at four members, so we had to narrow down who we could send,” said Senior Master Sgt. Boone Beatty, the 188th Intelligence Support Squadron operations flight chief. “It was also a fast turnaround on coordination and timing to get them there during the drill weekend. The team selected had background in different information technology areas of interest and an excellent team dynamic. We intend to send more next year.”

    The Razorhack Cyber Challenge, hosted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Section 5, aimed to inspire the growth of cybersecurity awareness, and highlight its significance in today's digital age. The central theme of the event revolved around an energy company's efforts to recover from a cyber compromise. Participants faced challenges across various fields of expertise, including network security, deciphering cryptography, reverse engineering, binary exploitation, network analysis, web vulnerability exploitation, and more. The event even featured a cyber-themed escape room.

    “This was our first year, and we were able to do the event thanks to a grant from the IEEE Computer Society” said Evan Glover, who founded the Computer Society chapter in Northwest Arkansas in 2022 and helped organize the event. “Most of the teams were from Arkansas this year, but we are hoping to expand our reach next year.”

    The 188th ISS discovered the Razorhack Cyber Challenge after accepting an invitation from Col. Patric Coggin, the 189th Airlift Wing commander, to join the 189th Communications Flight and the 223rd Cyberspace Operations Squadron in a visit to the University of Arkansas’ National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission and the Engineering Research Center. The goal was to focus on areas of mutual interest, including cybersecurity.

    “We are always looking for ways to push our Airmen’s abilities to the next level and that’s exactly why we were excited to take part in RazorHack,” said Maj. Kimberly Hunter, the 188th Communications Flight commander. “This event not only challenges our Airmen in exciting ways, pushing their limits, and fostering teamwork, but it also provides invaluable opportunities to learn and master new cyber techniques. Beyond that, RazorHack provides a unique platform for recruiting talented individuals into the Arkansas Air National Guard cyber career fields.”

    Beatty saw participation as an excellent opportunity to build a skillset in cybersecurity, aligning with the evolving 1D7 career field's shift toward a network/system defensive posture. The members also sought to partner and network with others in the field and other Army Arkansas National Guard units, such as the 223rd Cyberspace Operations Squadron in Little Rock, which focuses on cyber offense. Beatty feels this collaboration will allow for the sharing of resources, training materials, and other opportunities.

    The other benefit of participating was enhancing their skills as cyber operators in the face of near-peer conflicts.

    “As the Air Force increasingly focuses on cyber offense and defense, the expertise gained in events like this competition can translate into a better understanding of technology, more effective training, improved support, and the presentation of innovative solutions to various problem sets within their areas of operation,” said Beatty.

    Moreover, the squadron aimed to promote the 188th Intelligence Support Squadron to prospective recruits, as the event attracted participants ranging from high school students to cybersecurity experts. By exposing them to the different missions within the Air National Guard, the 188th hoped to make them aware of the opportunities it offers.

    The 188th Intelligence Support Squadron plans to send more members to the event in the coming years as it continues to hold its annual competition, furthering their commitment to strengthening the cybersecurity capabilities of the Air National Guard.



    Date Taken: 11.03.2023
    Date Posted: 11.08.2023 16:00
    Story ID: 457506
    Location: FORT SMITH, AR, US

    Web Views: 236
    Downloads: 0