Stepping off a U.S. Air Force C-12 Huron and into freezing air, four members of the 611th Air Communications Squadron made their way to one of the most remote radar sites in the country, located 350 miles above the Arctic Circle and just outside the village of Utqiagvik. Led by U.S. Air Force Capt. Jake Spuller, the 611th ACOMS Special Missions Flight commander, the team proceeded to the Long Range Radar Site, to conduct Cyber Defense activities in a location literally on the freezing edge of North America’s defensive perimeter. Once they arrived at the LRRS, the 611th ACOMS members performed cybersecurity analysis on the radar data flowing through the site. The information gathered by the LRRS is broadcast back to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson via satellite and commercial lines, where it is then processed and handed off to the 611th Air Operations Center. From there, the information is used to make critical command and control decisions.
“Ensuring the integrity of the data and our confidence in the air picture is critical to guaranteeing situational awareness in order for our senior leaders to make the right decisions,” explained U.S. Air Force Capt. Jake Spuller.
“The data received from Alaska’s long range radar sites are essential to enhancing Alaska NORAD Region’s ability to monitor all activities in our area of responsibility 24/7,” said Col. John Krellner, the 611th AOC commander. “The situational awareness provided by these radars enables senior leaders the ability to make timely, informed decisions in defense of our homeland.”
The LRRS the team visited is one of 15 strategically positioned across the state. The majority of the LRRS’s are located in extremely remote locations, and together they maintain vigilant overwatch of Alaska’s airspace. For the 611th ACOMS, having the ability to deploy rapidly to these remote radar sites allows them to assure their cyber resilience and ANR’s ability to detect, track and engage airborne threats. The confidence in the physical and cyber security of these remote radar sites and the information they provide is imperative to the AOC and the operational decisions being made by senior leaders.