Airmen protect, ensure base communication

Senior Airman Jeffery Hofer, 341st Communications Squadron client support technician, speaks to a customer Nov. 13, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Senior Airman Jeffery Hofer, 341st Communications Squadron client support technician, speaks to a customer Nov. 13, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The communications squadron maintains communications systems for the base’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, Air Force Global Strike Command’s Secure Global Network, data networks, telecommunications systems, computer systems, and radio and ground communications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Airman 1st Class Haden-Paul Cruz, 341st Communications Squadron client support technician, replaces a hard drive Nov. 15, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Airman 1st Class Haden-Paul Cruz, 341st Communications Squadron client support technician, replaces a hard drive Nov. 15, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Airmen part of the client support center assist with government phone and base computer system installs and migrations, patching and remediating base computer system vulnerabilities, and ensuring the computers on base and in the 13,800 square-mile missile complex are always operational. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Bill McKowan, 341st Communications Squadron client systems technician, works on a phone Nov. 15, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Bill McKowan, 341st Communications Squadron client systems technician, works on a phone Nov. 15, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Currently, the communications squadron is working on two major projects of upgrading base computers and operating systems, and migrating government phones from legacy email software to an updated client. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- The 341st Communications Squadron at Malmstrom plans, operates and maintains information technology resources supporting the wartime requirements of the 341st Missile Wing.

The unit maintains communications systems for the base’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, Air Force Global Strike Command’s Secure Global Network, data networks, telecommunications systems, computer systems, and radio and ground communications.

The squadron is split into multiple sections including the network control center, communications focal point and client support center.

Airmen part of the CSC assist with government phone and base computer system installs and migrations, patching and remediating base computer system vulnerabilities, and ensuring the computers on base and in the 13,800 square-mile missile complex are always operational.

“Our job is to ensure computers and other devices are up and running and stay connected to the network to allow Airmen to get the mission done,” said Senior Airman Jeffery Hofer, 341st CS client support technician.

This is accomplished by keeping systems current with software updates, catching and fixing vulnerabilities, and assisting Airmen who are in need of technology support.

Individuals can submit a ticket to the virtual Enterprise Service Desk through the desktop icon or contact the communications focal point at 731-2622 when an issue occurs.

Tickets are then processed through to the CSC technicians who are assigned the tasks.

“Many of the fix actions and maintenance that are done are seamless to the user,” said Bill McKowan, 341st CS client systems technician. “This means that the user never even knows that we did anything.”

The technicians contact the customer to discuss the problem and assist with the fix whether in person or remotely through the squadron’s special software.

“No matter what kind of network you are running there will always be a need for troops on the ground fixing computers and troubleshooting network issues,” said McKowan. “Being able to remotely administer a computer from a remote enterprise level is a great concept but one that requires everything to be working in order to be effective.”

Currently, the squadron is working on two major projects of upgrading base computers and operating systems, and migrating government phones from legacy email software to an updated client.

Upgrading the systems, software and equipment increases security by staying up-to-date and mitigating vulnerabilities. Both of these projects must be done manually and to each individual piece of equipment.

The squadron is slated to have both projects completed by January 2018.

“With the Air Force moving toward modernization, we are moving toward better technology,” Hofer said. “Without the network and our new equipment operational, we would not be able to get our job done.”

McKowan echoes Hofer and said he feels the position he holds is one where the rubber meets the road.

“It may be cliché but it is true,” McKowan said. “The local base communications squadron is not only necessary to the everyday user, but also vital to every facet of our mission here.”
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.