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Fort Sill new home of electronic warfare unit

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) - A new unit aimed at training and educating soldiers on the ins and outs of electronic warfare is now stationed at Fort Sill.

Charlie Company is a part of a much larger Cyber Training Battalion, stationed in Georgia. Soldiers of all ranks will be coming to Charlie Company at Fort Sill for classes ranging from 22 weeks to nine months long.

The classes those soldiers will take will focus on teaching them how to protect their comrades from electronic attacks on all cyber platforms. The courses will mostly be made up of classroom work and the information they learn will then be taken back to the bases where those soldiers are stationed.

Commander of Charlie Company Captain Jackson Wittkamper says cyber security is a necessity because of technological advances.

"Obviously, we live in a technological world, technology is increasing at a dramatically fast rate and unfortunately that technology can also be weaponized and militarized,” Wittkamper said. “So, we're training on how to deal with that, how to use it intelligently and how to ultimately protect our own soldiers with those capabilities.”

Battalion Commander for the entire Cyber Training Battalion Benjamin Sangster said for an example of why cyber security is necessary, you have to look no further than the last election cycle.

"There was a big deal about cyber security there. If you want to extrapolate from that then you know, you can see that's not the military, that's out in the civilian world,” said Sangster. “All the industry, they're putting a lot of focus into cyber security. The military is now different. We have to be able to secure our efforts and understand what our adversaries are trying to do to us, which requires us to understand the entire spectrum of cyber."

To help combat that, classes ranging from 90 to 120 students will receive top-notch education and training at Fort Sill.

"We train all levels of soldiers. It's the electronic warfare course for enlisted soldiers, non-commissioned officers, warrant officers and commissioned officers. And every one of those groups is a different type of course,” Wittkamper said.

After completing the courses, Wittkamper says the soldiers will take their training and experience and take it back to the units they're stationed with.

"The electromagnetic spectrum can be used for good or bad, can be used offensively or defensively just like any other weapons system,” Wittkamper said. “So, our job is to train these soldiers on how to master them and how to bring those capabilities to the units they support."

Sangster says, ultimately, cyber security training is all about what he called "staying ahead of the curve"

"If you don't stay ahead of the curve, someone else is going to be in front of the curve, taking advantage of whatever shortcomings you might have,” Sangster said. “If we're not training and educating our soldiers, keeping them relevant, keeping them current with today's technologies, then someone else is going to be in front of us and we'll be trying to play catch up and it gives them the advantage and honestly the United States Army and our country don't need anyone else to have that advantage on us."

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