December 05, 2019

16th Air Force Launches Information Ops for the Digital Age

by Rachel S. Cohen

Russia is targeting US elections. Hackers claiming allegiance to the Islamic State are going after US Central Command’s social media. China is using computer espionage to steal and possibly alter sensitive data.

Against the ever-evolving backdrop of conflict in the digital era, the Air Force is stepping up efforts to explore and exploit cyberspace, the electromagnetic spectrum, and even the weather—further blurring the line between peacetime and wartime operations.

The new 16th Air Force launched in October to bring cyber, intelligence, and other information dominance operations together under one roof at JBSA-Lackland, Texas.

Sixteenth Air Force combines the assets of the former 24th and 25th Air Forces, which respectively oversaw cyber and ISR operations, along with electronic warfare, cryptology, psychological operations, the 557th Weather Wing, and the Air Force Technical Applications Center, which uses its own set of sensors to monitor nuclear treaty compliance.