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20th CS prepares for CCRI

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shayna Blackmon, 20th Communications Squadron client systems technician, searches for vulnerabilities in the network at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 2, 2017. The 20th CS client service center receives a daily list of 100 devices with the most vulnerabilities and then performs necessary tasks to protect those devices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shayna Blackmon, 20th Communications Squadron client systems technician, searches for vulnerabilities in the network at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 2, 2017. The 20th CS client service center receives a daily list of 100 devices with the most vulnerabilities and then performs necessary tasks to protect those devices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

An assured compliance assessment solution guide lies on a desk in a 20th Communications Squadron office at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 15, 2017. The guide, produced by the Defense Information Systems Agency, gives users information about how the program can be used to scan computer networks for vulnerabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

An assured compliance assessment solution guide lies on a desk in a 20th Communications Squadron office at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 15, 2017. The guide, produced by the Defense Information Systems Agency, gives users information about how the program can be used to scan computer networks for vulnerabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Approximately 90 Airmen from the 20th Communications Squadron are preparing for a Command Cyber Readiness Inspection scheduled for March 27-31.

The Defense Information Systems Agency will perform the inspection, which consists of reviewing network system vulnerabilities as well as assessing physical security measures 20th Fighter Wing Airmen take to protect information.

“Your computer is more than just a device, it’s a tool,” said Capt. Andrew Butler, 20th CS Operations Flight commander. “That’s the physical aspect of what we’re trying to communicate to the wing. We’re also trying to get the wing to understand the network as a whole is a weapons system because we use it as a mission enabler to make sure those F-16 Fighting Falcons launch.”

By keeping the network running as it should, 20th CS Airmen are driving CCRI preparation to success, said Butler.

Senior Airman Ryan Peterson, 20th CS vulnerability manager, uses an assured compliance assessment solution program to guide technicians to specific machines that may be vulnerable to infiltration. Operators use the program by applying search filters and scanning the computer network for vulnerabilities.

“Any mistake you make in ACAS can have dire consequences,” said Peterson. “If you miss something, then all of your peers who rely on you for information miss something as well. Those things may not get fixed, and you don’t know what you don’t know.”

After the completion of this inspection, the 20th CS will transition from inspection readiness to constant readiness.

DISA performs a CCRI at each base at least every three years; however, the inspections are now unannounced, so 20th CS Airmen and network users are always prepared.

One key thing users can do is ensure secure devices are powered on. By turning these computers on, network technicians can assess the systems for vulnerabilities and fix them remotely with updates.

Users can also protect the network with physical measures, such as keeping the areas around devices uncluttered. Allowing the space to become messy makes it more difficult to notice or find out of place items, such as wire-tapping devices.

As 20th CS Airmen apply their skills to tackle the upcoming CCRI, they are also preparing themselves to gain knowledge from DISA inspectors, which they will use to improve Shaw’s cyber readiness. By focusing on the safety of the computer network, they keep critical information safe and ensure Shaw is ready for the cyber fight.