An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Drive: AU.S. Cyber Command task force executed what is being described as its “first offensive cyber effect operation” against real-world cyber threats. While the exact nature of the operation and its target remains unknown, the event was significant enough for the U.S. Secretary of Defense to personally attend to watch the operation in action. The operation was conducted between February and August 2021 by a task force consisting of personnel from the Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Cyber Operations Group, the Delaware Air National Guard’s 166th Cyber Operations Squadron, U.S. Navy’s Cyber Strike Activity Sixty-Three, the U.S. Air Force’s 341st Cyber Operations Squadron, and the Air Force Reserve. The task force executed the operation from February to August last year, although the Air National Guard (ANG) just announced it this week. While there have been other offensive cyber operations conducted by U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), this is the first conducted and acknowledged by this particular task force.
Details about the specific threat countered by the task force’s cyber offensive are scarce, but USAF Maj. Corley Bradford, director of operations for 175th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, said the offensive cyber operation involved the security of Department of Defense information networks. “[Our] NMT was a direct contributor to [our task force] conducting a successful offensive cyber effects operation,” Bradford stated in an ANG press release. “It was a lot of excitement to finally see the fruits of our labor when [our task force] delivered its first offensive cyber effects operations during this mobilization,” said Bradford. Interestingly, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III was on hand to personally witness the operation. “It was a massive milestone,” Maj. Bradford said, “so he wanted front row seats to see the action firsthand.”