Battle Creek Air National Guard base looks to play larger role in cybersecurity

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Michigan's Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek hopes to play a larger role in defending our nation's networks against cyber-attacks.

On Wednesday the Michigan congressional delegation sent a letter to the Defense Secretary expressing their support for the Michigan Air National Guard to be selected as a location of a cyber-operations squadron.

We've been talking with some of the commanders with the 110th Attack Wing, who feel they are well positioned to take on a new cyber-security mission--one they describe as probably the biggest threat we have going right now.

"The threat is out there, it's not just one spot in the world, it's a global environment and that's where we're at with the cyber domain," said Major Dan Guy.

Cyber-security threats are now considered the 5th domain of warfare according to Major Guy--one that he hopes the 110th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard will be playing a larger role in if the Department of Defense names them as a Cyber-Operations Squadron.

"You may be actually trying to secure networks more than actually attacking per se, the best offense is a good defense," he said.

On Wednesday, the entire Michigan delegation--led by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Fred Upton--sent a letter to the Defense Secretary urging the DOD to select Battle Creek as the site to host a Cyber-Squadron.

The letter states that the base's unique location and capabilities would enable US CYBERCOM to fulfill its mission at a significant cost savings compared to bases without the same infrastructure.

"We wouldn't have to build any new buildings, we have the Internet right outside gate, so financially it makes sense for the taxpayer to put it there," said Colonel Ronald Wilson, 110th Attack Wing Commander.

Existing facilities include the network operations center, and the cyber-operations facility that is training personnel on how to spot threats.

"We're one of the few that has the infrastructure to do it, the only thing we is 'yes'," said Executive Officer Major Kelly Black.

Battle Creek is among seven locations selected for four slots. This afternoon, we spoke with Senator Stabenow, who thinks Battle Creek is in a very strong position to be selected. Officials say we may not hear until this summer, however, as the site selection is wrapped into the budgeting process.

If selected, they would staff the squadron with about 70 military personnel instead of the dozen they have right now working on cybersecurity.

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