Flying Officers (FLGOFF) Rebecca Marshall and Helen Lee are two young Engineers with a curiosity about the way the world of Communication and Information Systems (CIS) works.
The two engineers are spending their first Air Force postings at Headquarters Air Command (HQAC) with the Air Warfare Centre (AWC) Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) Capability Management Office (CCMO).
In their current roles they are managing C4I across Air Force which can range from handheld radios and satellite dishes to the accreditation of networks.
CCMO transitioned from the HQAC A6 cell to AWC in Jan 2019. This transition was a response to Plan Jericho and the need to grow Air Force's cyber capability.
FLGOFF Marshall said although the pair is fresh into their Air Force careers, both have enjoyed the scope of what it means to be a RAAF Engineer and the opportunities to have a variety of experiences.
“Being an Engineer in the Air Force is different to the traditional sense of an Engineer – you have your base in logic and systems and you apply that in different ways depending on the job you are fulfilling,” FLGOFF Marshall said.
“I joined the Air Force in 2016 as a Direct Entry Officer following my previous career as a Software Engineer and English teacher in Japan.
“Speaking Japanese enabled me to become a RAAF Japanese linguist, and I hope to combine this with my engineering abilities and aspire to a future role in the Japanese Embassy.
“I am loving the diversity of job roles within the Air Force. While my daily duties may involve coordination of radio frequencies I am also exposed to things like opportunities to a tandem jump from a C-130J when the call unexpectedly came for volunteers!”
11 February is the United Nations (UN) International day of women and girls in Science, and signifies the need for gender equality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
UN data from a 2016 study suggests that less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women.
FLGOFF Lee said as young female Officers they both understand the importance of science literacy from a young age to encourage children to think about the way the world works and to experiment by having fun with science.
“A career in STEM fields doesn’t mean you have to be the best at Science and Maths,” FLGOFF Lee said.
“Engineering is about seeking ways to better our lives whether by making it easier to get around, to communicate or by exploring the unknown there is always something to improve.
“Growing up I was encouraged to talk through problems like the mechanisms behind why condensation forms on a cold surface for example - engineering allows me to explore this curiosity.
“Going through ADFA from 2015, one of my best experiences was working with the United States Air Force Academy’s Falcon Telescope tracking CubeSats – basically miniaturised satellites for Space research.”
There are exciting times on the horizon for Engineers in the Air Force, with opportunities to integrate fifth generation technologies and work with the latest emerging platforms.