VICEROY Interns join the Crows

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Benjamin Aronson
  • 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing Public Affairs
The 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing opened its doors this summer to seven interns from across the nation who were selected as part of the Virtual Institutes for Cyber and Electromagnetic Spectrum Research and Employ (VICEROY) Program to intern at the wing.

The VICEROY Program, under the Air Force Research Lab, partners with 22 universities and colleges to fund paid students to intern at military organizations to increase the quantity and quality of students who are security-clearance eligible and who possess job-ready DoD cybersecurity skills upon graduation to support manpower requirements for the armed services.

Currently, interns are assigned to the 39th Electronic Warfare Squadron (EWS), the 16th EWS, the 513th EWS and the 850th Spectrum Warfare Group Det 1.

The interns are working on mission sets including Crowd Sourced Flight Data (CSFD), Warfighter Applications, Specialized Electronic Combat Tools & Reprogramming Environment (SPECTRE) and the Combat Electromagnetic Environment Simulators (CEESIMs).

“Units proposed topics and projects that bring value to both the mission and the student due to their alignment with current priorities,” said Shannon Conklin, 850th SWG chief engineer. “We matched interns to units and missions based on the [academic] degree they were working to obtain and the resume they sent as part of their application to the program.”

Once assigned to their squadron, each intern was paired with a mentor to help guide and educate them during their ten-week internship. The intent is for each intern to fully understand both the mission they are supporting and the wing’s EW mission.

“It takes a lot to get proficient in the [EW] mission,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ryan DeLong, 16th EWS threat simulation team commander. “For military members, we move on every couple of years, but civilians stay in one place longer and provide continuity with their knowledge and expertise.”

The goal of this program is to assist with recruitment of civilian personnel to close gaps in manpower by developing the next generation of EMS leaders into military, civilian and industrial base sector careers.

The wing is currently comprised of around 303 Department of the Air Force civilians and has over 400 civilian positions it’s looking to fill as it continues to grow its workforce. The wing will also expand its footprint with its new group, the 950th Spectrum Warfare Group, at Robins AFB, GA, which is set to open its first detachments later this year and build upon the EW assessment mission of the 87th EWS’ COMBAT SHIELD.

“The Crows are revamping the Air Force’ EW culture and developing the ability to plan, execute and employ game-changing effects, but we must invest in our people to do so,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Josh Koslov, 350th SWW commander. “The challenge we are working to overcome is recruiting and retaining the talent we need to develop the capabilities to dominate our pacing challenge threats.”

The VICEROY Program lines up with the wing priorities of establishing relationships with industry and academia to shape a new generation of Crows interested in DoD service and national security.

“The VICEROY internship is the best of both worlds when it comes to building relationships,” said Koslov. “Not only do we get to partner with academia, but we are given the opportunity to inspire students to join the Crows, be part of something bigger than themselves, whether that’s as a DAF civilian or Airman, and dominate the spectrum and win.”