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NEWS | June 20, 2024

Ohio Air Guard 178th Wing Hosts Engineer Installation Muster

By Shane Hughes, 178th Wing

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Over 150 commanders, officers and senior noncommissioned officers from 16 Air Force engineering installation squadrons across the country concluded a week-long engineering installation muster June 14 at the 178th Wing.

The event enabled Airmen from the engineering installation career field to gather and discuss issues impacting their mission to deliver communications infrastructure and capabilities where and when they are needed.

“There’s a tremendous amount of change taking place within the Air Force, probably unseen since the establishment of the Air Force in 1947,” said Col. Stephen Dillon, commander of the 253rd Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group. “Part of that is great power competition. We have to constantly ask ourselves how we can compete with and outpace our adversaries.”

The event included specialized breakout groups for commanders, engineering, installations, logistics, networking, project managers, policy, quality assurance, and training. Meetings between active duty and Air National Guard commanders allowed them to make decisions to drive the engineering installation community forward. Several decisions centered around consolidating capabilities to enhance Airmen skills and align efforts with Agile Combat Employment, an Air Force warfighting concept of maneuver.

“We took this as an opportunity to discuss how we get after Agile Combat Employment to meet the missions of combatant commanders,” Dillon said. “How do we be light, lean and lethal and deliver capabilities to make the Air Force more lethal and generate more air power?”

Col. Steven Dudash, commander of the 251st Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group, said the EI community is critical in establishing infrastructure resiliency. This includes a team focusing on spectrum monitoring and detection and a cyber team that restores critical infrastructure after an enemy attack.

“We have to be able to set the theater to get communications established, resilient and robust, and we have to be able to recover, meaning things are going to get broken in a fight and we need to know how we’re going to repair our critical infrastructure,” Dillon said.

One of the new theaters discussed during the muster was the Arctic Circle. Maj. Joe Girtz, commander of the 210th Engineeering Installation Detachment, said the muster allowed the units engaged in the Arctic to discuss anticipated challenges in providing communications infrastructure and caring for the Airmen on that mission.

“We have near-peer adversaries looking at the Arctic for a variety of different things, to include shipping lanes that are going to be opening up, natural resources, and national defense priorities,” Girtz said. “Nobody else in the Department of Defense does what we do, and we’re using that unique skill set to expand the IT capabilities of the entire Department of Defense.”

“Cyber is critical to the future fight,” Dudash said. “We’re here to make sure we’ve got the cyber infrastructure we need to fight that fight.”



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