Cyberwar taught at elite U.S. pilot school

July 5, 2012 at 5:18 PM

LAS VEGAS, July 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force said it recently graduated its first class of cyberwarfare experts from an elite school used to train fighter pilots.

Six airmen from the Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada last month completed a new course that honed their skills in defending critical networks, tracking down electronic intruders and launching cyberattacks of their own.

"Our curriculum is based on attack, exploit and defense of the cyber domain," Lt. Col. Bob Reeves, who oversees the cyber course, told the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal said the students were asked to consider the potential avenues of attacks against U.S. military networks and even the computer systems aboard Air Force Planes. They then develop plans to defend against hackers and other cyberattackers, which are challenged by a team of Air Force "aggressors" who try to breach those digital defenses.

The U.S. military is in the midst of a concerted effort to prepare for the cyber-battlefields of the not-too-distant future. "While cyber may not look or smell exactly like a fighter or a bomber, the relevancy in any potential conflict in 2012 is the same," said Air Force Col. Robert Garland, commandant of the Weapons School. "We have to be able to succeed against an enemy that wants to attack us in any way."

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