Wing Commander, IAAFA participate in Colombia’s Cyber Conference

  • Published
  • By Vanessa R. Adame
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Cyber Defense professionals from nine countries across Latin America and the United States gathered in Bogotá, Colombia, Nov. 24-25, for Cyber Wings 2022. Col. Lauren Courchaine, 37th Training Wing commander, was invited as a guest speaker as a graduated Cyber commander and head of the largest Training Wing in the Air Force.

The conference, which focused on cyber defense and cyber security, was hosted by Universidad Javeriana and Universidad de Los Andes.

Courchaine, who is the first Cyber officer to command the 37 TRW, spoke on Countering Cyber Threats through Cooperation highlighting that “empowering cyber leaders through education, partnerships, and innovative research is absolutely necessary to maintain a workforce that can think critically and holistically about cyber, military operations and national security.”

Her remarks were translated for the Spanish speaking audience of more than 100 cyber professionals from across all military branches from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and the United States.

Courchaine spoke about the importance of the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, a U.S. Air Force educational institution that is highly regarded in Latin America, for delivering professional military education and technical training to more than 900 international military students annually from partner nations across the Western Hemisphere. Courchaine also announced a new cyber course under development at IAAFA in conjunction with Keesler Air Force Base and Sixteenth Air Force that will focus on the implementation of processes and frameworks to conduct effective defensive cyber operations. The content will closely resemble the curriculum of courses we use to teach U.S. defensive teams. The new course is expected to be implemented at IAAFA in the fall of 2023. The update builds partner nation needs and capacity, as it will provide students advanced processes needed to defend communication systems and infrastructure.

Tech. Sgt. Salvador Chavez, Cyber Networks and Security Instructor for the 837th Training Squadron, attended the event as part of the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, which owns the 837th TRS.  Chavez led a discussion on the everchanging role of cyber threats and highlighted how IAAFA is adapting to the challenges in new and innovative ways.

“The most exciting part was to be in a room full of technicians, policy makers, and professionals that share the same passion as I do for academics and the cyber defense,” Chavez said. “We had the opportunity to network and exchange information; through that built more partnerships for future engagements.”

Along with modernizing courses, Courchaine also stressed about the need to not “leave good talent behind.” She discussed the importance of promoting gender equality to maximize the innovation, creativity, and strategic thinking in our current need for current and future cyber leaders.  

“Women, Peace, and Security programs and integration is not just a women’s issue, it’s everyone’s issue,” Courchaine said. Courchaine explained how WPS is about valuing the entire spectrum of our human capital. She said integrating gender considerations requires routinely assessing gender-based differences of women and men as reflected in their social roles, the distribution of power, and access to resources throughout all mission activities, including policies, training, doctrine and personnel practices.

“The good news about being more inclusive of women in cyber, technical fields, and in leadership roles is that the United Nations finds that societies that promote gender equality also increase peace and security.”

Courchaine spoke with military and academic leaders about the application of her comments into everyday activities. She reminded the audience that the threat is real and growing every day.