The design of the Cyberspace Operator badge was approved in April, 2010 by U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz. When it was introduced, officers who converted from the 33S Air Force Specialty Code (AFCS) Communications and Information to the new AFSC 17D Network Operations Officer were authorized to wear the basic Cyberspace Operator badge. Officers who subsequently completed the Distance Learning Cyberspace Operations Transition Course, an Undergraduate Network Warfare Training Course, or met the criteria necessary to be upgraded and who had earned the senior or master level badge for Communications and Information were authorized for the same level of Cyberspace Operator badge.

In 2015, the 17S AFSC Cyberspace Warfare Operations Office was created. With this addition, wear of the Cyberspace Operator badge became limited to personnel whose core AFSCs are 17D and 17S (officers) and 1B4 (Cyberspace Defensive Operations).

Network Operations and Cyber Warfare Operations officers are eligible for the basic badge upon completion undergraduate Cyberspace Training; senior badges require seven years of cyberspace operations and completion of Cyber 200, while the master badge requires more than double the duty time (15 years) and successfully completing Cyber 300.

For enlisted personnel, the basic badge is awarded after initial 1B4X1 skills training and upon attaining the IB431 skill level (Apprentice). The senior badge is earned upon reaching the 7-skill level (Craftsman) with seven years of experience in cyberspace operations, and the master badge requires a rank of Master Sergeant with at least five years of experience in Cyberspace Defensive operations at the 7-skill level or greater. Special rules apply for awarding the badge to cross-flow Chief Master Sergeants.

Air Force general officers earn the badge after one year serving in a cyberspace command or staff position approved by the Chief of Information Dominance and Chief Information Officer (SAF-CIO A6), with upgrades awarded after each additional twelve months in a cyberspace position. Both the Commander of the Air Force Space Command and the SAF-CIO A6 qualify for the master badge immediately upon assuming their positions.

The Cyberspace Operator badge is equal in precedence to the Chaplain, Aeronautical, Space, and Missile Operations badges and is worn above the parachutist badge and all other occupational and miscellaneous badges (it cannot be worn above the Chaplain badge, however).

The badge approved in 2010 by General Schwartz features wings crafted from lightning bolts attached to a globe with two elliptical orbit symbols; the wings are emblematic of the cyberspace domain, while the orbits symbolize the space dimension of the cyberspace mission. Lightning bolts centered on the global were inspired by the USAF seal and the USAF Navigator badge.

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