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New cyberspace operations activated at Scott Air Force Base

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)
Two airmen take part in cyberspace training at Scott Air Force Base. They are members of two new squadrons at Scott Air Force Base focused on cyber security.

Cyber security has become a major initiative of the Pentagon.

As part of that initiative, Scott Air Force Base has a new cyberspace operations group that will eventually include 300 new jobs. The 688th Cyberspace Wing activated the group on Tuesday.

Colonel Roger Vrooman also became the new commander of the group during Tuesday's activation ceremony. He later told members of the media that he worries about cyber attacks that aren’t detected.

"That’s why we’re standing up this group, and that’s why we’re dedicating all the dollars and all the bodies to be able to get a handle and try to make our nation more secure in cyberspace," he said.

The group will include two squadrons at Scott Air Force Base, including about 200 active duty personnel and about 60 civilian position and some contract employees. Vrooman said they expect to begin advertising soon for the civilian positions.

Each squadron will include three cyber protection teams. They’ll work with the U.S. Department of Defense, separate military service agencies and federal agencies to help protect against cyber attacks.

Credit (Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)
The activation ceremony for the new cyberspace operations group under the 688th Cyberspace Wing took place Tuesday.

Vrooman said it makes sense to place cyber security at Scott Air Force Base because of a history of communications work at the base, including the Air Force Communications Command, Air Force Network Integration Center, and now the 688th Cyberspace Wing.

The cyberspace operations group will also work closely with U.S. Transportation Command, the Air Mobility Command, and the Defense Information Systems Agency.

"You have quite a few heavy-hitting mission partners that are on Scott Air Force Base," Vrooman said.

Congress appropriated $16 million for infrastructure upgrades to house the new cyber security mission. Vrooman said the biggest part of the construction will begin early next year and be completed in 2018.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.