Last revised: February 03, 2015

41st Intelligence Squadron
(Air Force's Newest Cyber Squadron - 659th)
USAFSS, ESC, AFIC and AIA Signals Intelligence - SIGNET

Lt. Col. James Hilburn, 41st Intelligence Squadron (IS) Commander

Activation Ceremony - (October 3, 2014)
(National Vigilance Park - Fort George G. Meade, MD)

Lt. Col. James Hilburn takes command of the 41st intelligence Squadron after receiving the unit's guidon from Col. Parker Wright, 659th ISR Group Commander.

695th stands-up Air Force's
Newest Cyber Squadron

10/8/2014 - FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- Lt. Col. James Hilburn was presented the 41st Intelligence Squadron guidon by Col. Parker Wright, 659th ISR Group commander, officially taking command of the 25th Air Force's first Cyber Mission Force dedicated squadron during an activation ceremony Oct. 3 at National Vigilance Park.

The 41st IS was activated as part of U.S. Cyber Command's Cyber Mission Force, an initiative to grow the Department of Defense's cyber domain by an additional 6000 trained individuals by 2016. The 659th ISR Group will stand up three additional squadrons, the 37th, 5th and 75th IS, scheduled within the next year in support of the Air Force's commitment of more than 1000 dedicated Airmen to the Cyber Mission Force.

"The stand-up of the 41st Intelligence Squadron today, and the 37th Intelligence Squadron and the 5th Intelligence Squadron later this month, reflect 25th Air Force's firm commitment to the Cyber Mission Force," said Maj. Gen. John Shanahan, 25th Air Force commander. "The 41st Intelligence Squadron will be a critical element of U.S. Cyber Command's efforts to defend our nation from cyber attacks."

The 41st IS started its history with the activation of the 41st Radio Squadron, Mobile in 1951 at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, under the U.S.  Air Force Security Service. Five months after activating, the 41st deployed to its first permanent operating location in a post-World War II British occupation zone along the North German coast.

The 41st carried out a signals intelligence mission, including direction finding and traffic analysis, for only a few years until the official end of the post-war occupation. On May 5, 1955 the Air Force Security Service underwent a major reorganization. On May 8 the 41st Radio Squadron Mobile was deactivated and its Airmen and mission were assigned under different unit designators.

Today the 41st IS will conduct a Cyber ISR mission as well as a full spectrum of cyberspace operations aiding in the nation's defense.

"As you've heard, the 41st Intelligence Squadron, like its predecessor the 41st Radio Squadron, Mobile, has been tasked with a unique mission," said Hilburn. "A mission vital to the security of the United States and its allies. The Airmen of the 41st IS provide leadership and support for one of the nation's priority mission sets - Cyber ISR, a mission focused on the nation's ability to operate in cyber space."

Significant efforts have been made by the DOD to strengthen cyber capabilities to include the stand-up of U.S. Cyber Command in 2009, the re-designation of the 24th Air Force to Air Force Cyber in 2010, and the implementation of U.S. Cyber Command's Cyber Mission Forces in 2013. 

This interest in cyber comes from current threat assessments and growing capabilities in the cyber landscape, said Wright. The 41st, and future organizational changes within the 659th, are a reflection of these capabilities as well as a defense against potential threats and vulnerabilities.

"Why [activate the 41st] you ask?" said Hilburn. "Simply because the world has grown smaller. We as a people are more connected now than ever before. Email, internet and social media--the list goes on. Globalization has successfully created a world intimately connected to the electromagnetic spectrum, introducing a unique realm for international interaction and of course for potential conflict. We have been charged with achieving cyberspace superiority allowing the United States to operate freely while limiting our adversaries' ability to function in this realm." 

The 41st IS will gain more than half of its current number of assigned Airmen within a year, and by 2016, the 659th ISR Group will have more than doubled, expanding its  capabilities to conduct cyber operations across 5 geographic locations.

"Our cyber ISR Airmen are crew members in our nation's newest fighting force," said Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. "The Air Force cyber ISR mission continues to grow as we seek to outpace cyber threats to our nation."

The 5th and 37th Intelligence Squadrons are scheduled to activate this year at operating locations in Georgia and Hawaii. The 75th is projected to activate in late 2015.

"At a time when the rest of the Air Force is getting smaller, the Cyber ISR mission is growing by leaps and bounds," said Wright. "That's recognition of the expanding threat. These squadrons will fuel 24th Air Force operations, and the Airmen in these squadrons will deploy daily around the globe through cyberspace to meet National and Air Component Commander needs. I don't anticipate any future conflict that will not in some way involve a 659th ISR Group Airman."

Last revised: February 03, 2015

Copyright 2015 by RWF2000 Internet Consulting