Air Force Cyber Enlisted Airmen transition to Operational AFSC 

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jonathan Carkhuff 
  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Effective Nov. 1, 2021, all cyber enlisted Airmen have transitioned from the 3DXXX Cyberspace Support Air Force Specialty Code to the 1D7XX Cyber Defense Operations AFSC.  

The one-to-one transition and implementation of the new AFSC for cyber enlisted Airmen is part of a multi-phased approach that will reclassify cyber to an operational capacity within the Air Force, moving beyond a traditional communications support role.  

Changing the AFSC structure helps the Air Force adapt to changes within the cyber domain and will provide manpower to support the Air Force cyber mission by providing greater combat power, Cyber Capability Development and individual development for Airmen. 

“Since 2012, more and more operational weapon systems rely on cyber capabilities,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Samson, 1D7XX Cyber Defense Operations MAJCOM functional manager at Air Combat Command. “The 3D AFSC is not agile enough to adapt to the constantly changing cyber environment. We need the right Airmen, with the right skills, at the right time for the right mission.” 

The 1D7 AFSC combines 11 different AFSCs into one AFSC with nine shreds, giving the Air Force flexibility and agility to look at missions and capabilities and adjust manpower as necessary.  

“Professional growth will be a foundation of this transition, said Maj. Henry Sims, chief of force development for cyberspace and information dominance at ACC. “Airmen will be generalists who can pivot based on mission demands and requirements; we can build on those cyber fundamentals with optimized, mission-focused, training content to effectively execute the mission.” 

Phase I of the 1D7 transition is a reclassification effort. Airmen currently working in communications and cyber mission sets will not see an immediate change in their day-to-day work. Phase II, set to be implemented by December 2022, is when Airmen will see their roles change.   

Leaders across the Air Force are encouraging cyber Airmen to participate in shaping the future of the cyber career field. 

“We are taking a planned, deliberate approach to this transition and building up the capabilities within this new AFSC and in each shred,” said Samson. “We are establishing working groups, Airmen in field doing the mission, to get the best ideas of what they’re seeing at the tactical level. We want Airmen to have a say during the mission analysis to shape the future of cyber.” 

Transitioning to 1D7 is key to long-term sustainability of the cyber career field.

“We have talented enlisted cyber Airmen all across the Air Force,” said Samson. “As more and more mission platforms rely on the cyber domain, it’s absolutely critical to have our highly skilled cyber defense operations Airmen securing, defending and protecting these weapon systems to assure mission objectives. Future conflicts will be fought and won in cyber, and we need to develop and deliver a mission-ready cyber force armed for tomorrow’s fight. The capability of our cyber Airmen will be the deciding factor between mission success and mission failure.” 

Air Force cyber leaders up and down the chain of command recognize the current and future role that enlisted cyber Airmen will play in protecting the nation countering adversaries. 

“Just as cyber and the threats are always changing, so must we. Just as technology is always advancing, so must we,” said Colonel Heather Blackwell, director of cyberspace and information dominance at ACC. 

“Our Airmen are our competitive advantage, conducting operations to get after our adversaries,” said Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, 16th Air Force commander. “This operational transition further integrates cyber capabilities to create new, tailored outcomes for joint force commanders and for the nation.”