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178th Wing Hosts Annual EI Muster

  • Published
  • By Shane Hughes
  • 178th Wing

More than 150 commanders, officers and senior non-commissioned officers from 16 Air Force engineering installation squadrons from across the country concluded a week-long Engineering Installation Muster on Friday at the 178th Wing.

The EI Muster provided airmen from the engineering installation career field an annual opportunity to gather and discuss issues impacting their mission to deliver communications infrastructure and capabilities where it’s needed and when it’s 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 both 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 skillset among airmen and align efforts with Agile Combat Employment, an Air Force war-fighting 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 plays a critical role in establishing infrastructure resiliency. This includes a Spectrum Awareness Resolution Team, which focuses on spectrum monitoring and spectrum detection. These team identify interference in communication channels and relay their findings to other teams which respond to the source of the interference. Another team includes Cyber Infrastructure Damage Assessment and Restoration Actions, which 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 EI Muster was the Arctic Circle. Maj. Joe Girtz, commander of the 210th Engineeering Installation Detachment, said the EI Muster allowed the units engaged in the Arctic to come together and discuss the anticipated challenges, from both the perspective of providing communications infrastructure and the perspective of caring for the airmen on that mission.

“We have near-peer adversaries looking at the Arctic for a variety of different thing, 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 skillset 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.”