Air Force General: Cyber Technology Critical to America's Future

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McLaughlin addressed 700-plus gathered for Civil Air Patrol's National Conference

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. James K. “Kevin” McLaughlin, deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Md., stressed the importance of cyber technology to America’s future in his remarks to more than 700 attendees of Civil Air Patrol’s 2014 National Conference Banquet.

The event, held Saturday night at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, was the finale to a week of professional development training designed to ensure the 60,000 members of the all-volunteer organization are prepared to perform their emergency services, disaster relief, cadet programs and aerospace education duties at the highest professional levels possible.

“Cyberspace is critical to all of our lives and to the national security of the United States,” said McLaughlin. “The threats to this man-made domain are rapidly increasing and the Department of Defense is taking steps to build capability and capacity to defend the U.S. in cyberspace. I am confident that Civil Air Patrol will also play a key role in raising awareness and building capability to assist in this important new field.”

Beyond his expertise in the subject of cyberspace and his Air Force career, McLaughlin, his wife, CAP 1st Lt. Victoria McLaughlin and their three sons – Cadet Lt. Cols. Andrew and William McLaughlin and Capt. Bryson McLaughlin – have been members of CAP since 2004. Victoria McLaughlin currently serves as their squadron’s character development instructor and Drug Demand Reduction officer. Kevin McLaughlin holds the rank of lieutenant colonel.

The McLaughlins were instrumental in creation of the first Cyberspace Familiarization Course, which took place this summer at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

“What a great thing this has been for our family,” said Kevin McLaughlin. “The boys have benefitted from so many experiences, including international and leadership opportunities.

“The thing that’s most important about CAP members is that they serve the nation in incredible ways but it’s unheralded. They don’t get to meet the president and generally don’t get a lot of recognition for what they do. Clearly, they are motivated by a passion for service,” he said.

Saturday was also CAP’s Cadet Day, which offered 12- to 20-year-old members an opportunity to hear from as McLaughlin and two of the organization’s aviation legends – Col. Mary Feik, whose name is affixed to one of the CAP cadet program promotion awards, and Lt. Col. Al Hulstrunk, a World War II glider pilot involved in CAP’s aerospace education program. In addition, New York Times best-selling author Dale Brown met with the 100 Cadet Day participants. Brown is commander of the Nevada Wing’s Douglas County Composite Squadron.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. Performing missions for America for over 70 years, CAP will receive the Congressional Gold Medal in the coming months in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit, and for more information.

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Steve Cox

Julie DeBardelaben
Civil Air Patrol
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