CROWS looks to expand its partnerships

  • Published
  • By Raoul Fischer
  • Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapon Systems

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- In January, the Department of the Air Force‘s Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapon Systems, or CROWS,  worked to expand its existing use of Cyber Focus Teams.

CFTs look to “bake-in” cyber resiliency into new weapon systems and mitigate vulnerabilities in fielded systems. The CROWS team, who already have CFTs at several Air Force locations, initiated preliminary discussions to place additional teams at select United States Space Force Program Executive Offices.

According to officials, “baking-in” cyber resiliency means putting the correct language in contracts as early as possible to address cyber resiliency, cyber security and, ultimately, cyber survivability of weapon systems. 

“Changing the way the Department of the Air Force approaches the cyber resiliency of weapon systems requires advanced skillsets capable of leveraging professional subject matter expertise as well as the ability to deliver best practices and effectively cross-pollinate information among stakeholder organizations,” said CROWS Director Joe Bradley.

CROWS Materiel Leader Lt. Col. Zach Lehmann added, “The hiring and development of CFTs promotes positive change in acquisition culture because it allows the Department of the Air Force to proactively drive cyber input and Systems Security Engineering requirements into each phase of the requirements and acquisition process.”

As noted, CROWS already has Cyber Focus Team members at a range of Department of the Air Force Program Executive Offices across the nation including here at Hanscom; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Hill AFB, Utah; Eglin AFB, Florida; Tinker AFB, Oklahoma; and Robins AFB, Georgia.

“The potential expansion of positions at Space Force acquisition programs underscores the unity of effort required to advance a holistic approach to weapon system cyber resiliency,” said Bradley.

Cyber Focus Teams also support the fundamental tenets of Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall’s Operational Imperatives, including Operational Imperative 7 – Readiness to Mobilize, Deploy and Fight, and Operational Imperative 1 – Resilient Space Order of Battle.

CFTs are already helping to increase the cyber resiliency of DAF programs to maintain mission effective capability under adverse, cyber-contested conditions by ensuring resources are aligned to critical technology items by working in close coordination with PEO Directors of Engineering.

CROWS is also planning on a public release of version 5.0 of the Department of the Air Force System Security Engineering Guidebook – a single source guidance on Systems Security Engineering, or SSE, for the Department of the Air Force acquisition community.

The guidebook assists Program Executive Offices and Program Offices in performing systems engineering and systems security engineering by outlining a single workflow process to integrate program protection and SSE activities into traditional systems engineering processes.

CROWS officials say the goal is to assist those offices in ensuring national security systems and mission essential information systems are more cyber resilient and survivable.

The latest version of the guidebook contains a range of new updates, along with further information on cyber survivability and operational resiliency.

The guidebook includes endorsements from organizations such as the National Defense Industrial Association Systems Security Engineering Committee, Government Accountability Office, Naval Air Systems Command, U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Air Force Materiel Command and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

For more information about CROWS, email

(Editor’s note: 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs contributed to this article.)