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    South Carolina National Guard Soldiers participate in Department of Defense cyber defense exercise

    South Carolina National Guard Soldiers participate in Department of Defense cyber defense exercise

    Photo By Sgt. Tim Andrews | U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard Defense Cyber...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Flonasia Neals 

    South Carolina National Guard

    COLUMBIA, S.C. - U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard Defense Cyber Optic Element (DCOE), under the state communications office, participated in Cyber Shield 21, the Department of Defense's largest unclassified cyber defense exercise, from July 10-24, 2021.

    The first week of the exercise consisted of the Soldiers conducting training in specific skill sets including incident response, hacker tools, certified ethical hacker training, and other security-focused missions to allow Soldiers to develop their cyber skills. During the second week of the exercise, Soldiers were presented with a national cyber incident simulation to support a company or organization that came into contact with a potential cyber threat. The DCOE's role within this simulation was to help that company and ensure the integrity of their network and provide them with any cyber assistance that was authorized based on the rules of use of cyber, memorandums of understanding, and agreements with that particular entity.

    "This training is important because cyber Soldiers within the South Carolina National Guard are presented with the opportunity to leverage their time to build and train their effectiveness and to build skill sets to have the ability to respond to these types of [cyber attacks], for not only the country, but the state of South Carolina," said U.S Army Maj. Gerren Carter, South Carolina National Guard DCOE team chief.

    Cyber Shield 21 is a concentrated effort to develop, train, and exercise cyber forces in computer network internal defensive measures and cyber incident response. Cyber Shield 21 brought together about 700 of the nation's top cyber defense professionals, from U.S. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to various governmental, non-governmental, and industry partners in a hybrid in-person and online environment.

    The resources allocated to this training help provide the cyber community with the tools necessary to simulate cybersecurity threats allowing Soldiers to formulate clear and concise strategies to identify and effectively neutralize the threat.

    "It's been a pretty big learning experience for sure. I participated in the exercise in 2018, working on an information system, which is again what I'm doing this time,” said U.S Army Sgt. Michael Arthur, South Carolina National Guard Joint Force Headquarters informational specialist. “We got off the ground a lot quicker this time. It took us three days to get to where we were now, this time last year. This [training] is a huge learning opportunity to see things that you hopefully will never see in the real world, but realistically you're going to."

    The 11 South Carolina National Guard cyber warriors conducted operation Cyber Shield 21 at the Bluff Road readiness center in Columbia, South Carolina.

    "Cyber incidents are an ongoing and substantial threat in 2021; America's power plants, food supply, water supply, health care, law enforcement, and defense sectors have all come under attack," said U.S. Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, during a media roundtable, June 29, 2021. He continued, "These cyber threats extend our adversaries' reach across borders and time zones, and it could have devastating consequences."

    There have been attacks or attempted attacks in every state in the U.S. Though the National Guard's response isn't needed for every attack, cyber defense experts stress the importance of planning and training together.

    "The opportunity for our DCOE team to participate in Cyber Shield 2021 was invaluable," said U.S. Army Col. Linda Riedel, South Carolina National Guard state communications officer. "Cybersecurity is a team sport, and training our team to not only work with each other, but with our industry partners as well, is crucial in protecting South Carolina and the United States."

    The South Carolina National Guard builds and maintains its cybersecurity capabilities through multiple state and federal cybersecurity initiatives. Through extensive and collaborative training and exercises, the South Carolina National Guard maintains relationships, trust, and synergies in improving cybersecurity practices and strategies across state and federal agencies.



    Date Taken: 07.28.2021
    Date Posted: 07.28.2021 20:35
    Story ID: 401913
    Location: COLUMBIA, SC, US 

    Web Views: 270
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