News: Ribbon-Cutting for 110th Airlift Wing Michigan Cyber Range Hub
Story by Angela Simpson
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - The Michigan National Guard will open the first Michigan Cyber Range hub on a National Guard installation at the 110th Airlift Wing in Battle Creek, Mich. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for March 25 at 10:30. The facility joins the Michigan Cyber Range, inaugurated by Gov. Snyder and merit network, Inc. in November 2012. The Cyber Range has sites at Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University and Northern Michigan University. Future hubs are planned for Fort Custer and Camp Grayling later this year.
The training center is a public-private partnership between the state of Michigan, Merit Network, federal and local governments, colleges and universities, and the private sector. Merit Network, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. Merit owns and operates the longest-running research and education network in America. Governed by Michigan’s major public universities, Merit connects institutions of higher education, K12 schools, libraries, health care, state and local government and other nonprofits to its leading-edge network. Currently spanning 4,000 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure, Merit Members leverage its network as a strategic asset for collaboration and innovation. Merit also provides its Members with IT service solutions.
Michigan’s Cyber Security Initiative pairs extensive cybersecurity resources that meet National Security Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology criteria, with hands-on training opportunities to enhance Michigan’s protection of computer systems and sensitive data. The Michigan Cyber Range is a component of the Cyber Security Initiative. The new training facility hub at the 110th Airlift Wing creates a unique opportunity for not only Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen, but for the entire State of Michigan and beyond.
“Every day, breaches to computer systems threaten the security of data – data that may include personal information about Michigan’s citizens,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at the ribbon-cutting in Ann Arbor. “The partnership to establish the Michigan Cyber Range benefits all levels of government as well as educational systems, private businesses and industry.”
“The whole private industry cyber security concept came out of a 2011 White House meeting Governor Snyder had with Secretary Napolitano and Howard Schmidt, former cyber security adviser to President Obama,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Stone, assistant adjutant general – Installations, Michigan Army National Guard. General Vadnais and I met separately with Schmidt to flesh out a cybersolution for private industry that mirrored the untouchable classified Defense networks. We partnered with Merit Network and others to transform the concepts discussed in Washington into operational reality; it’s the most extensive unclassified cyber defense network in the world with multiple hubs and classified cyber access nearby. The Michigan National Guard can provide a truly unique training tool unlike any other in the world. In fact, we were recently denied a significant cyber security research grant because the funding source was overwhelmed by our already fully operational system,” Stone added with a smile. “The Michigan National Guard has the capability to offer private industry solutions, and host global training sessions, that no other state can offer.”
The Michigan Cyber Range facility at the 110th Air Wing serves as a resource hub and offers partnerships in innovation and collaboration. The training program offers students and internet technology professionals a full curriculum of meetings and workshops as well as critical cybersecurity training and awareness tools intended to lower cyber vulnerability.
Areas that will benefit from the expansion of the Michigan Cyber Range include:
• Infrastructure defense
• Homeland security
• Criminal justice and law enforcement
• Academic programs and curricula related to information and communications technology
“Cyber attack costs businesses and governments millions of dollars and can cause irreparable damage to reputation and public trust,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard. “The National Guard is a perfect source for cyber skills because some soldiers and airmen are already computer coders and network technicians in their civilian lives. If all state National Guards had cyber capabilities then cyber talent could quickly get to critical places in times of crisis, just as National Guard troops might show up with water buffaloes when a community water main breaks. The fact that Michigan is a leader in cyber awareness makes us globally marketable for training and research purposes.”
Dr. William J. (Joe) Adams is a perfect example. A retired Army colonel, Adams holds a Ph.D. in computer engineering and was network engineer for the Supreme HQ, Allied Powers Europe. He knows a lot about cyber vulnerabilities and ways to strengthen networks. He joined Merit Network in 2012 and implemented the Michigan Cyber Range, a project recognized by Snyder and State of Michigan technology experts as a critical tool for cyber security research and innovation.
Adams recently briefed capabilities of the Michigan Cyber Range during a visit to Merit’s offices in Ann Arbor by Latvian Ambassador, the Honorable Andris Razans. Michigan National Guard Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais and Michigan Air National Guard Commander, Brig. Gen. Leonard Isabelle also attended the briefing.
Media members are welcome to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony but must RSVP with Lt. Col. Bill Humes, Michigan National Guard State Public Affairs Officer, and must present ID at the security station upon entering the Airlift Wing property. Questions and/or interview requests should be directed to the Michigan National Guard Public Affairs Office at 517-481-8141 or William.firstname.lastname@example.org. Elwood Downing is the Michigan Cyber Range and Merit Network, Inc. media contact at 734-527-5702 or email@example.com.