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Combat Raider/Cyber Storm exercises prepares Ellsworth for the future

Airman 1st Class Mason Kitchens, a 28th Communications Squadron radio frequency transmission systems technician, uses an oscilloscope, which is a device used to see changes in an electrical signal over time during the Cyber Storm exercise at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Cyber Storm is in its second year and is used to help the 28th CS find cybersecurity weaknesses so they can be more effective in a cyber-contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Airman 1st Class Mason Kitchens, a 28th Communications Squadron radio frequency transmission systems technician, uses an oscilloscope, which is a device used to see changes in an electrical signal over time during the Cyber Storm exercise at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Cyber Storm is in its second year and is used to help the 28th CS find cybersecurity weaknesses so they can be more effective in a cyber-contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Kenny, a 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft electrical environmental craftsman, inspects an aircraft part with the help of a technical order during Combat Raider 18-2 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Combat Raider is a joint exercise that involves multiple airframes from different bases to prepare Airmen and the Air Force for potential future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Kenny, a 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft electrical environmental craftsman, inspects an aircraft part with the help of a technical order during Combat Raider 18-2 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Combat Raider is a joint exercise that involves multiple airframes from different bases to prepare Airmen and the Air Force for potential future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

A B-1 bomber taxis down the flight line as part of Combat Raider 18-2 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Combat Raider is a joint exercise that involves multiple airframes from different bases to prepare Airmen and the Air Force for potential future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

A B-1 bomber taxis down the flight line as part of Combat Raider 18-2 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Combat Raider is a joint exercise that involves multiple airframes from different bases to prepare Airmen and the Air Force for potential future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

A B-1 bomber takes off for to participation in Combat Raider 18-2 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Combat Raider is a joint exercise that involves multiple airframes from different bases to prepare Airmen and the Air Force for potential future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

A B-1 bomber takes off for to participation in Combat Raider 18-2 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Combat Raider is a joint exercise that involves multiple airframes from different bases to prepare Airmen and the Air Force for potential future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Senior Airman Skyler Vinay, a 28th Communications Squadron cyber transport systems technician and Staff Sgt. Sebastian Ritter, 28th CS Communications Focal Point noncommissioned officer in charge, inspect a computer during the Cyber Storm exercise at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Cyber Storm is in its second year and is used to help the 28th CS find cybersecurity weaknesses and be more effective in a cyber-contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Senior Airman Skyler Vinay, a 28th Communications Squadron cyber transport systems technician and Staff Sgt. Sebastian Ritter, 28th CS Communications Focal Point noncommissioned officer in charge, inspect a computer during the Cyber Storm exercise at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 14, 2018. Cyber Storm is in its second year and is used to help the 28th CS find cybersecurity weaknesses and be more effective in a cyber-contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The capabilities and vulnerabilities of 28th Bomb Wing aircrew and cybersecurity teams were tested during exercises Combat Raider 18-2 and Cyber Storm at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 15-17, 2018.

Combat Raider and Cyber Storm prepare Ellsworth Airmen for real-world scenarios that could take place on air, space and cyberspace battlefields.

“Combat Raider is a large force exercise that brings together several participants from different bases and different aircraft to train in our local airspace,” said Maj. Robert Rauch, Combat Raider exercise director.

Combat Raider was implemented to help aircrew train for scenarios that reflect real-world threats in modern day operations.

“This exercise is important because it helps maintain readiness and prepares us for potential future combat,” Rauch said.

The joint exercise included several airframes and aircrew from major commands across the U.S. Air Force.

“We had B-52 bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, B-1s from the 37th Bomb Squadron, and several C2 combat and control aircraft from Tinker [AFB] and Robins [AFB],” Rauch said.

Cyber Storm was held in conjunction with Combat Raider. According to Capt. Alex Emley, the 28th Bomb Wing exercise director, this exercise tested the vulnerabilities of Ellsworth cybersecurity systems. The goal of Cyber Storm was to identify weaknesses, and assist the 28th Communications Squadron in creating measures to protect the virtual domain which is vital to the base’s mission.

“Cyber Storm was put in place to see how the base would operate in a minimal communication environment,” said Staff Sgt. Sebastian Ritter, 28th CS Communications Focal Point noncommissioned officer in charge. “The cyber front is now more than ever being targeted by our adversaries, and we need to be able to keep the base safe from these attacks.”

Combat Raider is held twice a year and Cyber Storm is held annually. Every year, exercise players strive to improve on past shortcomings and vulnerabilities, making Ellsworth more effective during real-world situations. In the second year of Cyber Storm, the team is learning how to adapt to the cybersecurity issues facing the U.S. Air Force. The 37th Bomb Squadron, and other players in Combat Raider participants are learning how to combat any threats that the U.S. may face in the future.