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US Air National Guard selects Virginia location for new cyber operations squadron

The Air National Guard has chosen Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE) for an Air Force Cyber Operations Squadron. Virginia’s bipartisan delegation, including Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and U.S Reps. Scott Rigell (R-VA-2), Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Rob Wittman (R-VA-1), and Randy Forbes (R-VA-4), has advocated to locate the cyber facility at JBLE since December 2014.

According to a press release issued Dec. 9 by the delegation, “We were very pleased to hear that the Air National Guard chose Joint Base Langley-Eustis for an Air Force Cyber Operations Squadron.”

“Cybersecurity is one of the greatest challenges we face as a nation, and this mission will play a critical role in responding to threats and protecting the integrity of our networks and cyber systems.  This decision is a testament to Virginia’s strong record in cyber capabilities, including top defense and technology companies, research institutions, and a highly skilled workforce. We are proud to host this critical mission.”

In the months leading up to the decision, the Virginia delegation sent two bipartisan letters to the Air National Guard advocating for Virginia as a location for the cyber squadron. The state is home to nine higher-education institutions recognized by NSA and DoD as centers of academic excellence.  As the members wrote in a April 29 letter: “Virginia and Hampton Roads are home to the top defense and technology companies in the country – many of which are already supporting the cyber mission for national security.”

The decision to build this capability is in keeping with a DOD-wide focus on enhancing cybersecurity, one of America’s most important national security concerns.  This new mission brings private sector experience together with public service by leveraging the civilian experiences of the people who make up its units.

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