299th NOSS hosts Cyber Town Hall

Standing left to right, Lt. Col. Andrew VanderZiel, commander, 299th Network Operations Security Squadron; Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Kill, superintendent, 299th NOSS; and Col. Chris Snyder, commander, 184th Cyber Operations Group, speak during the cyber town hall meeting at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, Nov. 16. (Air National Guard Photo by Senior Airman Lauren Penney)

Standing left to right, Lt. Col. Andrew VanderZiel, commander, 299th Network Operations Security Squadron; Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Kill, superintendent, 299th NOSS; and Col. Chris Snyder, commander, 184th Cyber Operations Group, speak during the cyber town hall meeting at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, Nov. 16. (Air National Guard Photo by Senior Airman Lauren Penney)

By Senior Airman Lauren Penney, 184th IW Public Affairs

The morning of Nov. 16, introductions were made and the 299th Network Operations and Security Squadron’s cyber town hall began. More than 100 Airmen traveled from multiple squadrons throughout the United States.

“The purpose was to create a venue for discussion of current cyber issues between the NOSS and the field units, as well as improving overall harmony of effort,” said Lt. Col. Andrew VanderZiel, commander, 299th NOSS. “We chose to be the first to host it simply as a way to kick start the idea, and to give the field a chance to meet us personally.”

Attendees were mostly from the field, but there was also attendance from the National Guard Bureau.

Lt. Col. Andrew VanderZiel, commander, 299th Network Operations Security Squadron  briefs his couterparts during the cyber town hall meeting at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, Nov. 16. (Air National Guard Photo by Senior Airman Lauren Penney)

Lt. Col. Andrew VanderZiel, commander, 299th Network Operations Security Squadron briefs his couterparts during the cyber town hall meeting at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, Nov. 16. (Air National Guard Photo by Senior Airman Lauren Penney)

“It was a great turnout, especially since this was the first ever of its kind for us,” said VanderZiel.

The town hall originated as a steady trickle of requests from the field and senior leadership for better communication, and the desire to have face-to-face conversation.

“We’re being asked to raise our security posture by United States Cyber Command, and the Department of Defense,” said VanderZiel. “It will require everyone’s efforts.”

“Once we realized that the next year would require the entire Air National Guard cyber community to be in sync, it seemed the perfect time to try this out. It seemed very well received, so I think it fit the bill.”

There are other venues for the community, but this was the first time a place was established for all the operational units to gather and have in-person discussions.

“[Because of the town hall,] we have a much better grasp of the gaps in our service, and the issues they experience,” said VanderZiel.