Cyber warfare: The silent hunt

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jared lovett
  • 86 AWPA

The U.S Air Force’s cyber warfare capabilities are constantly expanding with the increased technological advancements over time.

Along with this expansion comes the implementation of cyber Airmen’s means to develop competence and effectiveness in their ability to perform in cyber defense operations.  

One example of how the Air Force has implemented measures to improve Airmen’s effectiveness in cyberspace is through an exercise called Tacet Venari, which took place from May 9 to 20 and occurs on a quarterly basis. 

“Tacet Venari, latin for ‘silent hunt,’ is United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa’s premiere defensive cyberspace operational training targeted at USAFE’s mission defense team,” said Maj. Ryan Barker, USAFE Headquarters chief innovation officer branch chief.

The ‘silent hunt’ provides participants with the four phases of learning within a  two-week period.

“We educate, demonstrate, guide and then empower,” said Chief Master Sgt. Troy Houston, Tacet Venari technician lead. “This gives them the hands-on experience needed to be ready for a real-world scenario.”

During the hands-on portion of the exercise, teams are set up to participate in either attacking or defending the network.

There’s the Red Team, who attempts to infiltrate the network of the Blue Team, the defenders who consist of the Mission Defense Team. The MDT learns to recognize irregularities within the network and respond to threats.

Occasionally, both teams merge to form a Purple Team during the exercise.

“Both teams come together to have conversations about what they did right, what they did wrong, what they can learn from and how they can improve,” said Houston.

Cyber warfare capabilities are expected to drastically increase as the future approaches. Tacet Venari is vital in ensuring the U.S Air Force and its Airmen are always ready to defend against threats in cyberspace.

Multiple units from the Air Force participated in the exercise, including the 86th Communications Squadron, 52nd Communications Squadron and the 1st Combat Communications Squadron. USAFE plans to bring in NATO allies and partners to participate in Tacet Venari in the upcoming future.