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Communications career field begins transformation

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- More than 27,000 enlisted Airmen will transition from 16 communications Air Force Specialty Codes to 11 new cyberspace support specialties Nov. 1. The move, which includes 220 Vandenberg Airmen, is designed to help the Air Force face the challenges of working in and protecting a cyber environment. (Air Force graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- More than 27,000 enlisted Airmen will transition from 16 communications Air Force Specialty Codes to 11 new cyberspace support specialties Nov. 1. The move, which includes 220 Vandenberg Airmen, is designed to help the Air Force face the challenges of working in and protecting a cyber environment. (Air Force graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- -- More than 27,000 enlisted Airmen will transition from 16 communications Air Force Specialty Codes to 11 new cyberspace support specialties Nov. 1. 

The move, which includes 220 Vandenberg Airmen, is designed to help the Air Force face the challenges of working in and protecting a cyber environment. 

The transformation began last year, when Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley put out the Roadmap for Developing Cyberspace Professionals in April of 2008. This roadmap stated all civilian, enlisted and officer communicators would switch from their current AFSCs (2E, 3A and 3C) to cyberspace specialties (3D) by October of 2009. The AFSCs were originally approved to become 1B for enlisted and equivalent civilian AFSCs, but a new Department of Defense definition of cyberspace operations prompted a review of what cyberspace operator competencies should include. The result was the creation of the new 3D AFSCs. 

It is important to ensure a smooth transition and prepare communications Airmen to meet the demands of sister services and combatant commands, said senior leaders.

"We must socialize each step of the transformation process with each of our Airmen and the other functional communities," said Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Call, the 3A career field manager. "It's critical that we meet each step of our timeline and ensure our Airmen are postured in unit type codes correctly, manpower documents are updated and personnel conversion actions occur prior to Oct. 31."

The senior leaders also pointed to themselves as key to the transition's success.

"We need your leadership more than ever," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Nelson, the 2E career field manager. "We must be positive change agents in this entire transformation effort. It's important that we start conducting cross-utilization training now to bridge the gaps between today's communications and information AFSCs and tomorrow's cyberspace support AFSCs."

Though the transformation process is not easy, the communications community is still excited to meet the challenges its new cyberspace arena will provide.

"I'm extremely pleased with the direction we are heading on the enlisted side of communications and information and the development of our cyberspace workforce," said Maj. Gen. John W. Maluda, the director of cyberspace transformation and strategy. 

"As we move down the path of a 3D AFSC, I am confident we made the right choice and our Air Force will be stronger than ever and ready to meet our cyberspace mission." 

The new 3D career will have its own occupational badge, the new Cyberspace Support badge, which is authorized for wear no earlier than Nov. 1. The new badge will permanently replace legacy 2E, 3A and 3C occupational badges authorized for wear by enlisted Airmen on Jun. 1, 2010. 

Vandenberg communications and information specialists who need more information on the transition can call their unit superintendent or contact Senior Master Sgt. Jeffery Shangle, the 14th Air Force space and communication systems manager, at 606-3419 or Senior Master Sgt. David Ovesen, the 30th Space Communications Squadron operations flight superintendant, at 606-8836.