Air Force Selects 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield, Ohio for Air National Guard’s First Cybersecurity Wing

Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) this weekend welcomed an announcement by Air Force Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr. that the Air Force is formally designating the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield as the first wing of its cybersecurity mission.

The Air Force and the National Guard Bureau made the designation after analyzing the possibility for the past year. In August 2021, the Air Force publicized its assessment that the north-central Ohio wing was the frontrunner to become the initial cyberspace-mission site. The new mission will be oriented toward protecting aircraft and weaponry software systems from attacks and other risks. It will bring in 175 new high-technology staff positions which DeWine touted as an important step in making the Buckeye State a more high-profile venue for the science, mathematical, engineering and cybertechnology fields. 

“The 179th is the right choice for this mission, which will bring the unit, the Ohio Air National Guard and the surrounding community into the forefront of cyberspace capabilities with a clear stake in emerging National Defense Strategy,” DeWine said in a statement. “Gaining the new cyberspace wing involved a comprehensive effort at the local, state and national levels to ensure the unit remained in Mansfield and relevant into the future.”

Harris, who serves as Ohio’s adjutant general, said he expects this move will inspire many Ohioans with hi-tech proficiencies to consider serving in the Armed Forces. 

“The Guard continues to demonstrate its ability to excel at cutting-edge missions,” he said. “Our recruiting advantage increases as we allow Ohioans to serve their nation while remaining in Ohio. This cyberspace wing will produce individuals with tangible experiences and advanced training that will continue to improve the state’s leadership in cybersecurity and advanced technology.”

The 179th was built in Mansfield 75 years ago. Its transition to a cyberspace wing will entail facility improvements and personnel restructuring over the next five years. 

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Ohio Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “179th Airlift Wing” by United States Air Force.


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