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7 CS infrastructure team completes base network upgrade

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jade M. Caldwell
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 7th Communications Squadron infrastructure team completed a base-wide network improvement at Dyess Air Force Base, May 24, 2024.

During the planning phase, the infrastructure team worked with Air Force Global Strike Command for over three months to procure almost 400 network switches for Dyess. Additionally, the team had to survey the physical network capabilities of the base to ensure they could install the new system.

“Planning was about six to seven months,” said Senior Airman Jacob Chisolm, 7th CS cyber defense operations technician. “It was really a lot of coordination between us and all the units on base, building a schedule and making sure we weren’t over tasking our Airmen to get this upgrade rolling. Then the actual execution took about two or three months, give or take. There were some outliers, some units couldn’t swing it that day, so we had to be flexible.”

Once the plan was made, the installation process was initially difficult for the team. The workload of replacing all the switches led to the team restructuring their plan around what they could manage each day. Splitting up into three teams of two technicians, each team could work together to change out six switches per day. This way the workload was evenly split up and newer technicians could train alongside more experienced ones.

A key to organizing this large-scale upgrade was the 38th Engineering Squadron from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, who used their cyber planning expertise to advise Dyess on the planning and execution of the upgrade.

“They helped us with our topographies, learned how our network is laid out with the equipment, and looked for errors in our template,” said Staff Sgt. Kory Talbert, 7th CS network infrastructure NCO in charge. “There’s about 400 to 500 lines of code inputted on every network switch, and they helped read each line to make sure it was going to run correctly and smoothly.”

The network infrastructure is vital for all information transmission, whether through phones, printers, or tactical lanes. This upgrade enhanced this network and ensured its security against adversaries. With all the work put in to complete this project, the 7th CS eliminated 7,000 network vulnerabilities.

“With the mission that goes on here at Dyess, it allows secure transmission for mission planning to not be stopped,” said Talbert. “So, we’re not running the risk of missions being interrupted by being able to secure the network.”

Not only have the upgrades improved confidence in the systems and security on base, but this overhaul set a precedent for other bases to follow. Now the infrastructure team can use the skills they learned and proved to help assist other bases in need of similar improvements.

“We’ve set a standard here at Dyess for the rest of AFGSC to be able to handle an upgrade,” said Talbert. “Our expertise is going to be able to be utilized across the major command so that way as the AFGSC mission continues, we can continue to stay ahead especially with how important the striker mission is.”