PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. --
Staff Sgt. Alan Dwyer was presented with the General John P. Jumper Award for Excellence in Warfighting Integration award during a ceremony held at Pease Air National Guard Base, Dec. 7, 2019.
The award recognizes individuals for sustained superior performance and outstanding contributions to the integration of U.S. Air Force or Department of Defense warfighting and/or operations support capabilities that shorten the kill chain and/or enhance the decision cycle.
“I’m grateful, because I understand the amount of effort it takes to put someone in for an award like that.” said Dwyer, an information assurance specialist assigned to the 157th Communications Flight, New Hampshire Air National Guard. “That someone felt it was worthwhile to submit me for the award and take time out of an already packed schedule that we have, it’s meaningful.”
Discussing the types of work tasks he performs, Dwyer said each individual task never seems exceptional.
“We all get caught up in our day to day [tasks] and our busyness, and I’m just getting the next task done,” Dwyer said. “But you don’t always see the bigger picture.”
Winning the award marks the second time a 157th CF member has won the award. Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Howard won it in 2017.
Howard praised Dwyer for his leadership during cyber initiatives, exercises and planning committees, to include Cyber Yankee, Cyber Shield and Cyber 100.
“The interest in [cyber security] is so deep within Dwyer, I don’t believe he views this stuff as work,” said Howard.
For his participation in Cyber Yankee 2019, Dwyer received the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Dwyer explained that cyber defense is critical to the guard’s domestic operations mission, which must include the ability to respond to a major cyber event in the same way we respond to a natural disaster.
“Citizens rely on many things supported by cyber assets,” Dwyer said. “For example, N.H. dams, Department of Transportation road signs and tolling systems, Department of Liquor point-of-sale systems, Department of Safety and state police systems. Also, water, power and natural gas.”
Dwyer said he has been fascinated by computers from an early age. He attributed his passion for cyber security after reading the book “The Cuckoo’s Egg” while in high school.
“I also have had a fascination with the ideas and capabilities of cryptography from those years as well,” Dwyer said. “It’s not limited to just computers. I also have an interest in physical security and social engineering.”
Dwyer acknowledged the professional contributions of other airmen who had previously won the award, and was humbled to be recognized at their level.
“I know how much [Howard] does and how proficient he is at the things he does, so I’m grateful for being selected for the same award,” Dwyer said.