Girls Scouts, 184th IW partner for new cyber badge

 

2nd Lt. Ashley Bowen, cyber-warfare officer, 127th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, assists girls during a binary code exercise at Wichita Area Technical College, Jan. 26. Bowen helped teach a class on cyber technology as part of curriculum required for the Girl Scout’s new cyber badges. The class was designed to reinforce the concepts that the girls had been studying. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt McCoy)

 

By Master Sgt. Matt McCoy, 184th Public Affairs

A new partnership developed between Wichita-area Girl Scouts and the 184th Intelligence Wing in January. The Girl Scouts recently approved new cyber badges for young ladies to earn, and the IT professionals in the Kansas Air National Guard were excited to get involved..

“We’re one of three councils of Girl Scouts out of 112 that are piloting those badges,” said Liz Workman, CEO, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland. “We’re using the opportunity to partner with the 184th Intelligence Wing so the girls in our troops can learn a little bit more about cyber and what all that means.”

When a national press release announced the cyber badges, Col. Joe Jabara, vice commander, 184th IW, reached out to Workman.

Liz Workman, CEO, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, speaks to girls earning the new cyber badges during a workshop developed and taught by members of the Kansas Air National Guard at Wichita Area Technical College, Jan. 26. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt McCoy)

“I know that the Intelligence Wing has done some great work in conjunction with Wichita State University and some summer camps,” said Workman. “They’re really wanting to share that expertise and inspire other girls.”

As part of the curriculum, Airmen assigned to the 184th Cyberspace Operations Group volunteered to develop and teach a class on Jan. 26, to reinforce some of the lessons the girls had been learning in other classes.

“We had approximately 40 Girl Scouts come out,” said 2nd Lt. Ashley Bowen, cyber-warfare officer, 127th Cyberspace Operations Squadron. “They have a cyber-security badge so they had a training course that they took before today to get that badge. This was a follow up demonstration that makes it a little more fun for them.”

The class was held at the Wichita Area Technical College’s National Center for Aviation Training near Jabara Airport on a Saturday morning. Bowen and Tech. Sgt. Clinton Stang, 299th Network Operations Security Squadron, conducted the class which allowed the girls to get involved.

“We had the binary code game and then we had the attack game,” said Bowen. “The girls got down in front and we showed them a denial-of-service attack and a man-in-the-middle attack and how they work.”

Girls throw packets at Tech. Sgt. Clinton Stang (left), 299th Network Operations Security Squadron, during a demonstration of a denial-of-service attack. 2nd Lt. Ashley Bowen (right), 127th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, explains the concepts of cyber-attacks during a class as part of the Girls Scout’s new cyber badge program. The class was held at Wichita Area Technical College on Jan. 26. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt McCoy)

The participants passed foam objects to each other that symbolized packets of information. During one of the lessons, the instructors explained how users sent the packets to routers, which in turn passed the items to the intended audience. If a router malfunctioned, the packet was either passed back to the sender or redirected to another router and then to the intended audience. The lesson emphasized the importance of redundancy in a network.

“Hopefully they retain a little bit with that whole demonstration,” said Bowen.

As expected from the first class of a brand new program, the instructors acknowledged some areas in which they can improve but overall, they said it was a good start.

“Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to do this some more,” said Bowen.

2nd Lt. Ashley Bowen, 127th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, explains information transmission concepts during a class as part of the Girls Scout’s new cyber badge program. Girls passed foam objects, representing information packets, back and forth to understand how computers use network components to communicate. The class was held at Wichita Area Technical College on Jan. 26. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt McCoy)