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WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. --

Members of the 439th Civil Engineer Squadron and the 439th Communications Squadron started revamping Westover’s base-wide infrastructure back in November 2018.

Facilities across Westover are transitioning their industrial control systems to a new Community of Interest Network system that controls heating, air conditioning, ventilation and cyber security for areas like server rooms and other systems across base.

Krmange Muhajir, a General Dynamics Information Technology contracted information security system officer working in conjunction with the 439th CES, leads the multi-year project at Westover. The project is part of the cybersecurity initiative contract managed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.  

“My role directly impacts the cyber security of control systems across the Air Force,” said Muhajir. “Restructuring and updating industrial cyber control systems prevents vulnerabilities, makes the systems more efficient, more secure and allows those with access to have greater control over the systems.”

Westover is the pilot base for the newest version of the COIN system and is the first installation granted an ‘authority to operate’ for the Energy Management Control System. The base is on track to be the first DOD location fully transitioned to the new system.

“Something we are striving for is zero down-time,” said Paul Turgeon, information technology specialist. “While we are building the new system, we keep the old system going in the background to prevent any outages while we stand up the updated system.”

The old systems were 12 to 14 years old and vulnerable to threats.

“The cyber security structure that is being built here for these industrial control systems will serve as a guide for future structures to be built on other Air Force installations,” said Muhajir. “For example, any glitches or bugs that we run into here and work through will serve as a guide to handling issues that may arise at other locations.”

The team upgraded 18 buildings to the new system and have 60 buildings left to complete. Once the new systems are in place, they are estimated to work for 20 to 30 years.

“The 439th CS was instrumental to accomplishing this process,” said Muhajir. “They went out of their way to assist me with whatever I needed. It truly is a team effort to help me succeed with the projects here at Westover. I really don’t think I could’ve done it without them.”

The new systems are scheduled to be in place by the end of the year.