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Leading a Discussion with your Airmen on “Cyber as a Warfighting Domain”


“Cyber as a Warfighting Domain”

 (Command Teams: Use this template to customize your discussion)

Download the template HERE


Introduction Understanding and comprehending the full scope of cyberspace as a warfighting domain is key to an Airman’s knowledge base.  The Air Force stands with its joint partners as a key defender and user of the cyber domain across the spectrum of conflict. All Airman should understand that cyber is more than just the laptop on their desk and the AFNET.

Learning Objectives –  

•        Understand that Information Technology (IT), Operational Technology (OT) and Platform Information Technology (PIT) are the three sub-fields of Cyber within the Air Force

•        Know the various types of activities that occur in cyberspace and how they are similar and different to activities within the traditional domains.

•        Know and appreciate the different actors within cyberspace and their particular motivations.

Main Points

•         Differences between IT, OT and PIT

•         Espionage and crime committed through the cyber domain are still subject to the normal laws and consequences applied to these activities.

•         Definitions and facts regarding cyber-attacks including the potential of physical damage or injury to people or systems


•         Watch CBS Saturday Morning You Tube video, “Why NATO recognizes cyberspace as a domain of warfare”

•         Watch PBS special, “An exclusive look behind the scenes of the U.S. military’s cyber defense” 

•         Review PowerPoint slide presentation from AF Cyber College, “What is Cyber?”


                  Additional resources / links –   There are a vast number of videos available on cyber, cyber-security and issues surrounding the cyber domain.  

•         Read Peter Singer, Cybersecurity and Cyber War: What Everyone Needs to Know, ISBN: 9780199918119, pp. 67-103.



·         Goal:  To increase knowledge and awareness of the many facets of the cyber domain, the types of actions and the actors carrying out those activities. This lesson will facilitate that goal while discussing a specific topic with a small group members of your unit.


·         Questions for Command Teams to discuss:

o   Why do you think cyber is important to the AF?

o   What do you want your Airmen to walk away from this discussion with?

o   What group will you be discussing this topic with (i.e., First-Term Airmen, CGOs, NCOs/SNCOs, civilians, supervisors, flight commanders)?

o   What forum will you be discussing this in (i.e. as part of a staff meeting, at a stand-alone event, at a commander’s call, during a brown-bag lunch session)?

o   Who will lead the discussion? Do any members of the unit have expertise in this domain? If so, do they use it in their current job role?

For additional information on how to facilitate discussions, recommend reviewing the Facilitator’s Guide under the “Leading Squadron-Centered Learning” tab.


·         Introduction:  What we’re going to talk about today and why it’s important

·         Goal:  to gain an appreciation for the all-encompassing nature of cyber in the AF including the various actors and their activities in the domain

·          Part I – View one or both of the videos then read the Singer book selection and review the AF Cyber College slides.

·          Part II – Discussion:  Review the questions for thought and questions for discussion to develop your own questions specific to your organization.

o      Discussion Question 1: Why do you think cyber is important?

o      Discussion Question 2: How do you think our unit’s mission depends on cyber?

o      Discussion Question 3: What portions of our mission are IT, OT or PIT?

o      Discussion Question 4: What actors may be motivated to act against our unit?

o      Discussion Question 5: What types of actions might an adversary take against our unit?

o      Discussion Question 6: What actions if any can our unit execute independently to limit the impact of an adversaries actions on our cyber dependencies?

·         Part III – What do you want your Airmen to walk away with? Do you want to challenge them to take action or change their perception of the importance of cyber to their execution of the mission?

·         Questions for thought:

o       Is your squadron aware of its dependence on the various portions of the cyber domain? 

o       How can we decrease our dependence on cyber? 

·         Questions for discussion:

o      Name the various portions of our mission that rely on IT?  OT?  PIT?

o      How does an adversary’s activities in cyber space affect our mission accomplishment? 

o      Can cyber activities against individual squadron members negatively impact mission accomplishment?

o      What can we do to minimize the impact of cyber attacks on our mission?