148 (Barnsley) Squadron

Royal Air Force Air Cadets


Flt Sgt Slater Earns Gold Cyber Badge

Since the development and implementation of the progressive training syllabus the Royal Air Force Air Cadets have strived in pushing the development of cyber skills across the core of cadets and staff. Within this syllabus, are the coveted gold badges which allows many cadets and staff to gain qualifications to become instructors to pass on skills to the next generation of cadets. One of these is the Advanced Cyber Specialist qualification.

The course took place at RAF Cosford, home of No 1 Radio School, and was delivered by Regular RAF Personnel and delivered to a standard that is expected of phase 2 trainees within the RAF. The course is only run 3 times a year and is thus a high merit to be accepted upon. Therefore, I was a delighted that I was selected to attend.

The course itself took place between the 27thof July to the 2ndof August and provided a full, in depth and hands on course on the cyber environment as well as cyber defence and attack vectors. There was a strict level of confidence and standard expected of us whilst also requiring a level of maturity due to the many darker consequences of the digital zone.

The course consisted of many cyber based subjects and modules including:

  • What and where is the cyber environment
  • Laws restricting and in application to the cyber environment including the Geneva conventions and aspects of war
  • Malware, hackers, hacktivism and criminality within the cyber zone
  • The real dangers and risks of social media and how they have wider effects to people and their families as well as lifestyle and property
  • Network applications, protocols and devices
  • Information and data management
  • And both cyber-attack and defence vectors

The weeks itself was amazing and so far a highlight of my cadet career. It has further helped to develop me as a person by treating me as an adult due to being expecting to make my own way around the base and to and from classes.  It allowed me to meet many people from all across the UK within cadets whilst also allowing me to have a strong understanding of cyber aspects. The gold course allowed for me to gain in depth experience and understanding of cyber security and how it can affect more things within a person’s life than just what they post online. Within this understanding there was a level of practical work that allowed us to understand the functions and flaws within many information systems from cameras to desktop computers and how to protect and prevent these vulnerabilities.

The high intensity of the course was one of the aspects that helped to make it stand out from other courses whilst also allowing me to test my problem solving, teamwork and presentation skills. Through the completion of the course, I have now become one of ten Bronze cyber instructors within the wing and an ever-growing list of instructors within the whole of the region and core. I would recommend this course highly to those that wish to apply as I have made friends for life and gained transferable skills that can be used in military and civilian life.

By Flt Sgt Tom Slater