Airman, Soldier swap in latest cyber collaboration exchange effort

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Samuel King

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - A Regional Cyber Center-Pacific Soldier recently embedded with the Pacific Air Force’s Cyberspace Systems Squadron as part of a joint interoperability opportunity geared to bolster capabilities, cultivate collaboration, and foster innovation among service members.

The Cyber Collaboration and Exchange Program brought Spc. Aaron Sufnar, 31, to the Air Force unit for a week while sending a PACAF CSS Airman to the Army’s signal unit.

This latest swap marks the 17th iteration of the CCEP.  This initiative, which began late last year, aims to improve skill development and promote joint efforts with the exchange of people between units and service components. 

“The overarching goal is to bolster our proactive and resilient C2 support to the Pacific Theater, while building a joint mindset from the ground up for our service members,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Frebert, PACAF CSS commander.

Sufnar, a five-year Soldier, spent his week engaging with Airmen and personnel in the nine separate sections within the cyberspace squadron.  He learned about their missions and capabilities and searched for common ground between the sections and his own.

Communication was the first hurdle in the exchange.  The complex phraseology and acronyms for the cyberspace systems and procedures were almost always different between the two services.  Sufnar said he would learn the new term and try to compare it to the Army’s term for the same function or system.

Sufnar said he also noticed the Air Force had subject matter experts in specific areas like client systems and event managers, whereas the Army tries to spread out their knowledge base to many different Soldiers.

“I enjoyed and learned a lot from the experience,” said Sufnar.  “It was interesting to see how the Air Force operates compared to the Army and the similarities and differences in our systems and processes.  Our goal is always the same though, to provide support and stop the adversary.  This collaboration can help achieve that mission.”

This was the first time the CSS exchanged personnel with the RCC-P, but Sufnar said he plans to recommend more opportunities in the future.

So far, CSS exchanged personnel with RCC-P, the 690th Cyber Operations Squadron, the 56th Air Communications Squadron and the 94th Communications Squadron from Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

“The program's success owes much to our phenomenal partners, and our passionate team, who remain committed to expanding this endeavor further, continuously refining it for those ready to reap its invaluable benefits,” said Frebert.