Cadets receive master, senior cyberwarfare badges

From bottom: The Air Force Academy's basic, senior and master cyberwarfare badges. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Patrick Baldwin)

From bottom: The Air Force Academy's basic, senior and master cyberwarfare badges. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Patrick Baldwin)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Academy's dean of the faculty presented the Air Force Academy's first senior and master cyberwarfare badges to nine cadets during a faculty council meeting here Sept. 26.

Brig. Gen. Dana Born presented the wings to:

- Cadet 1st Class Jordan Keefer, Cadet Squadron 37
- Cadet 1st Class Chris Shields, CS 17
- Cadet 1st Class Matthew Toussain, CS 17
- Cadet 2nd Class Josh Christman, CS 07
- Cadet 2nd Class Robert Guiler, CS 05
- Cadet 2nd Class Nathan Hart, CS 13
- Cadet 2nd Class Donald Adkins, CS 22
- Cadet 2nd Class Luke Jones, CS 14
- Cadet 2nd Class Michael Winstead, CS 06

Lt. Col. David Bibighaus, a professor and deputy department head for the Academy's Computer Science Department, said he felt astonished by the cadets' sense of ownership in the cyberwarfare program here.

"I came in one morning, and Winstead and Shields had thrown some chairs together and fallen asleep because they had spent all night working on something that could make the course better," Bibighaus said. "It amazed me."

Cadets Keefer, Shields, Toussain, Christman, Guiler and Hart received the master cyber badge, which is earned through two years of either teaching the basic cyberspace summer course or competing in the cyberwarfare club and/or cyber competition team or one year of both teaching and competing. Cadets Adkins, Jones and Winstead received the senior cyber badge, which is earned through one year of either teaching or competing.

A total of 81 cadets completed the basic cyberspace course during the 2011 summer semester to earn their basic cyber wings, Bibighaus said. The department seeks to double that number for the 2012 summer semester.

The badges' heraldry borrows upon an early version of the combat navigator badge, signifying the common lineage of electronic warfare officers. The orbits around the globe symbolize the space-related elements of the cyberspace mission, while the lightning bolt wings symbolize the cyberspace domain and heritage of communication officers. Badge elements are simplified from their active-duty counterparts to prevent confusion, Bibighaus said.