Towards ensuring sustained airpower dominance in the fight against terrorism and other cyber security threats in the country, the Nigerian Airforce have sent twelve (12) officers to the United states of America for software development training while another eight (8) officers have been trained in India, on cyber security technologies and counter-hacking.
Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar who made the disclosure at the maiden Communication Branch workshop in Abuja, stated that the employment of information and communication technology in present day warfare is a strategic tool to enhance Nigeria’s operational and administrative processes.
His words, “Modern warfare is technologically driven, hence the giant strides of the NAF towards infusing technology in its operations. Communications has been expanded with the introduction of urban communications systems and trained personnel on the basic maintenance of the camera on NAF’s ISR platform, Navigational aids, and personnel are also being trained on airfield equipment system maintenance.
“These measures will save enormous foreign exchange needed to effect repairs abroad.
The CAS recalled that, “Over the years, we have noticed a gradual decline in expertise, skills and professionalism of the branch personnel especially with the disengagement from service of our highly trained personnel.
“Sophisticated equipment is in use today and technological advancement is quite rapid. So personnel must be abreast with current development if they are to remain relevant.
The Air Chief said the unbundling of the Logistics and Communications directorate into different branches was due to the dynamic and evolving nature of employing technology in modern warfare pointing out that the workshop seeks to consolidate the activities of the branch over meeting its expectations.
In his address, the Chief of Communications at NAF HQ, AVM Charles Ogomwen noted that before the creation of Communications Branch, there was the need to properly articulate the exercise of its functions to meet the desired goal in line with the objectives of its formation.
“In addition, personnel of the Branch in various NAF units were desirous of an avenue to ventilate their views and suggestions on how to put the Branch in perspective to meet the aspirations of the NAF in line with the CAS vision.
“Furthermore, drawing from experiences of past practitioners could be invaluable in shaping future direction of the new Branch. Moreover, the ever changing technological development in information and communications gives a wide pool from which the Branch could leverage on to situate itself for value addition to NAF operations.
“Consequently, a robust forum to discuss these and other teething problems was needed such that decisions and resolutions arrived at, will form the hub of future direction of the Branch.
He said three topics were carefully selected for the workshop, which will elicit discussions on wide areas of interest covering the Branch specialties.
“The first paper is titled ‘Contemporary manpower development for effective manning of Communications Branch: Issues and prospects”.
“The second paper is on ‘enhancing ICT infrastructure being a panacea for result oriented support for NAF operations”, While, the third paper is on “streamlining the functions of Communication Branch directorates for effective service delivery”.
A workshop approach was adopted to enable more interaction and speaking truth to ourselves.
On what the Branch intend to achieve in the weeks ahead, Ogomwen said, “It is our desire to have a robust outfit that has a bird eye’s view of each nook and cranny of the Nigerian airspace and surrounding border towns of neighboring countries.
“This will aggregate information and live feeds using software from Directorate of IT, equipped with adequate comms facilities from Directorate of Comms, Radar feeds from Directorate of Radar and Geospatial intelligence from Directorate of Space technology.
“Furthermore, our ISR platforms will obviously play a major role in this outfit; hence our cameras must be top notch.
“Equally, training of image analyst, software developers and ethical-hackers is paramount to enhance our cyber security.”
Participants at the workshop include the Nigerian Communication Satellite, Defence Space Limited, Air Officers Commanding, Branch Chiefs, Related Technological Institutions.