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ALAMO CHAPTER CHAPTER - Sep 17, 2013
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24th Air Force Commander Addresses Chapter

The new commander of 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber, Maj. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, USAF, addressed a near-capacity audience at the chapter’s monthly luncheon in September. Gen. McLaughlin focused on the evolution of the Cyber Command’s organization and key questions that drive his interactions with not one, but two four-star bosses: Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, director of the National Security Agency, and Gen. William Shelton, USAF, Air Force Space Command leader. Those interactions tend to center on eliminating gray zones and nailing down questions of legal authority in an incredibly complex, fast-changing landscape. Lines of responsibility are often muddled in an environment where Gen. McLaughlin has what he described as three hats, four roles. Perhaps the best understood of these is as commander of a numbered Air Force component, which calls for the organizing, training and equipping of cyber forces. In most of the three other roles—operating the Air Force Information Network (AFIN), leading the Air Force service component to the U.S. Cyber Command and commanding Joint Forces-Cyber—there can be considerable flux. For instance, Gen. Shelton is in charge of AFIN operations, but there is significant overlap with Gen. Alexander. Operating in this gray area, Gen. McLaughlin said, “doesn’t really create tension; it seems to create more opportunities for the lawyers and the JAGs, asking Gen. Shelton, ‘under what authority are you ordering that? Everyone is running toward the future, but who is leading?” he said. “That’s why we’re deliberately stepping through these authorities, to provide a firm foundation for the secretary of the Air Force.” In the meantime, Gen. McLaughlin is also involved with the development of Joint Forces Headquarters-Cyber (JFHQ-Cyber), which has its own distinctive command and control structure. Some 1,700 airmen are being added to JFHQ-Cyber, and other services are taking similar actions, at a time when most other functional areas are being drawn down. These cyber forces require high-end training and will be operating on teams that support other combatant commands in developing intelligence, and planning and executing operations. In this vein, Gen. McLaughlin said the partnership between the 24th Air Force and the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency will take on growing importance. One listener asked how industry can best support Gen. McLaughlin while military leaders continue to clarify the roles, responsibilities and operational relationships he had outlined. “You have just to be patient,” he said, noting that under sequestration, finding funds for even seemingly simple objectives is difficult. Proposals from industry partners fare best if presentations are focused on things that save the Air Force money, render forces more efficient or solve a critical deficiency, he said. Vic Helbling, chapter board member, asked whether the chapter’s scholarship recipients could pursue internships with the 24th Air Force. This is another area constrained by sequestration, Gen. McLaughlin said, but there is a model in San Antonio for high school and college students to obtain necessary clearances for internships. “We want to do more of that,” Gen. McLaughlin said, adding that he is in conversations to determine how do to get back to that quickly.

Event Photographs:

Maj. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, USAF (r), commander, 24th Air Force, recognizes Ron Moore, Camber Corporations, as the company renews its chapter sponsorship for the sixth year in September.
Maj. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, USAF (r), commander, 24th Air Force, recognizes Ron Moore, Camber Corporations, as the company renews its chapter sponsorship for the sixth year in September.
Celestin McAngy (l), a sophomore at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, accepts a $1,000 scholarship certificate from Vic Helbling, chapter board member, in September.
Celestin McAngy (l), a sophomore at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, accepts a $1,000 scholarship certificate from Vic Helbling, chapter board member, in September.
In September, Gen. McLaughlin (l) accepts a token of appreciation from David Kovach, chapter executive vice president.
In September, Gen. McLaughlin (l) accepts a token of appreciation from David Kovach, chapter executive vice president.

For more details regarding this event contact:
Marla Dial
512.296.7352

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