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    Cyberguard15 – Train, advise, assist

    BERRY FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Members from the 218th Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG) participated in Cyber Guard 15, a three week exercise in Suffolk, Virginia. The joint exercise, co-led by U.S. Cyber Command, DHS, and the FBI, included participation from the private sector, DoD, international allies, and U.S. federal and state government entities to include National Guard elements from multiple states. Participants exercised a whole-of-nation approach to identify, defend, and protect our domestic critical infrastructure.

    Col. Jason Glass, commander of the 218th ISRG, said, "Without terrestrial boundaries the cyber dimension transcends throughout all domains. These exercises allow the National Guard to engage and train with all partners to include the private sector. The enhancement of such training is critical as we address the threat of the 21st century, and the environment it presents.”

    The cyber domain is an all-inclusive realm, posing an equal opportunity threat to any device with an internet connection. The cyber vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure affect the federal, state, and private sectors, therefore all sectors, or a whole-of-nation effort, is necessary to mitigate a potential cyber-attack from becoming a national emergency. The National Guard has proven its worth time and time again in times of catastrophic events, and it’s becoming evident that augmentation in the cyber world is no different. Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) outlines the use of military forces to augment state, territory, tribal, local, and private-sector authorities in a catastrophic event where assigned resources are overwhelmed. This concept is at the heart of DoD’s role in Cyber Guard.

    According to the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy 2015, “DoD will draw on the National Guard and Reserve Components as a resource for expertise and to foster creative solutions to cybersecurity problems.”

    An exercise player from the 218th ISRG said, “Unlike our active duty peers, the Air National Guard must be prepared to respond to a multitude of federal and state incidents, ranging from natural disasters and civil disturbances to kinetic and non-kinetic [cyber] aggression toward U.S. interests both at home and abroad. Because of the vast array of incidents that we have to be prepared to respond to; participating in multi-organizational training events, like Cyber Guard, is critical to ensuring that the Air National Guard can maintain the public trust in our ability to defend and protect the critical infrastructure of the state and the nation.”

    Participants from multiple organizations were grouped into adversary and defender teams to emulate a realistic cyber battlespace. During the exercise, players on the blue team (the defenders) were tasked to deny adversarial presence, identify scanning, spear phishing, and malware residency on the network. The teams were able to exercise actual operations in a closed network environment. With the persistent cyber battle format of the exercise, the National Guard was able to train in a real world scenario against an expert adversary, and strengthen its communication procedures as a joint team. An emphasis on the importance of a whole-of-nation effort enhanced the cyber team approach to cyber threats and vulnerabilities. Annual training exercises such as Cyber Guard maintain ready National Guard force capabilities to conduct cyberspace operations.

    Relationships built during Cyber Guard have provided collaborative opportunities outside of the exercise. At the local level, the 218th ISRG continues a strong working relationship with the Tennessee Joint Force Headquarters J6 Computer Network Defense team, and have participated jointly in this exercise for the past two years. National Guard units from Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky have been multi-year partners during Cyber Guard, and continue communication and synergistic training efforts throughout the year.

    An exercise player from the 218th ISRG said, “I believe the relationships we forge in joint exercises, like Cyber Guard, create multiple benefits. By knowing the key stakeholders, it enables our responders to more effectively communicate and information share. In addition, by having a relationship with our personnel, there is an environment of trust established with the other services and agencies which strengthened their communication with our responders.”
    The act of preparing, securing, and defending our nation’s networks, systems, and information is a team effort. As we partner with other Departments and Agencies, international allies and partners, state and local governments, and the private sector, we continue to gain global strategic stability to defend against cyber-attacks, and hold the strategic advantage against adversaries.



    Date Taken: 06.08.2015
    Date Posted: 08.06.2015 09:54
    Story ID: 172333
    Location: NASHVILLE, TN, US 

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