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    Massachusetts National Guard attends National Guard Bureau - Home Front Command Annual Planning Conference

    Massachusetts National Guard attends National Guard Bureau - Home Front Command Annual Planning Conference

    Courtesy Photo | Members of the 102nd Intelligence Wing, on behalf of the Massachusetts National Guard...... read more read more

    RAMLA, ISRAEL

    09.22.2023

    Story by Airman 1st Class Julia Ahaesy 

    102nd Intelligence Wing   

    Members of the 102nd Intelligence Wing, on behalf of the Massachusetts National Guard (MANG), attended the National Guard Bureau - Home Front Command Annual Planning Conference at the HFC Headquarters in Ramla, Israel, July 22-28, 2023.

    U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brendan Simison, Plans and Engineering Division Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ulich, 102nd Communications Flight senior enlisted leader, met with HFC in efforts to continue developing and expanding their bilateral, cyber partnership.

    HFC is Israel’s domestic response force, which augments local authorities to protect civilian populations during emergency situations. The unit exists to save lives globally in search-and-rescue missions, according to the Israel Defense Forces website. MANG has been working with HFC since 2017.

    The NGB and HFC partnership serves four key functions, known as lines of activities (LOA), in the event of an emergency: Civil Support; Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN); Urban Search and Rescue (USAR); and Cyber. The MANG leads NGB cyber efforts.

    As part of the MANG, the 253rd Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group’s stateside role is to provide all kinds of cyber support, from network computers to radios and satellite phones.
    In this partnership with Israel’s HFC, they are charged with providing cyber support to Israel’s Civil Support Team.

    “Cyber is the glue that enables all command and control functions of the various LOAs,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Joseph Morrissey, asst. adjutant general for Air, Massachusetts Air National Guard. “Given the HFC mission to communicate with civil authorities during emergencies, it is a natural fit for the MANG to partner with the HFC in this arena.”

    Simison and Ulich worked with their Israeli counterparts to share their experiences, knowledge and best practice information about establishing and maintaining communication capabilities during major disaster events.

    They met with HFC Cyber representatives Israeli Lt. Col. Itay Zamir and Israeli civilian Levi Itach regarding HFC command and control capabilities. The teams discussed early warning notification, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system interoperability, challenges and their robust common operating picture, according to Ulich.

    Israel’s HFC is well known for its search and rescue mission, providing critical rapid response in emergency situations to protect civilian populations, restore order and save lives.

    “My impression when we were there is that the Home Front Command and their response team is an elite team in the world and have deployed to many, many events,” said Ulich.

    HFC recounted their experiences responding to several incidents over the last ten years, such as the apartment building collapse in Miami and recent earthquake in Turkey, where they were on scene pulling victims out of the rubble.

    This is a vital opportunity for us to learn from each other, said Ulich.

    “They identified they have some handheld radio shortfalls that we could probably help out teaching the training we’ve received for our Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISCC) package here, bridging the different radios and networks together,” he said.

    Long-term objectives of the partnership include planning joint training events between the MANG and HFC for the next two years. The MANG will apply what they learned at the conference to the upcoming Cyber Yankee 24 exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod, as well as other interactive training opportunities such as the evaluations of the region’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) and High-Yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) and Homeland Response Force.

    “Those future training opportunities will help, should there be an incident where we're going to respond together,” said Simison.

    The MANG will also enhance their newfound relationship with the HFC by supplementing in-person events with virtual meetings to keep the communication going. The teams established informal monthly meetings to continue their collaboration, discussing cyber activities and results from ongoing cyber incident response team exercises.

    The 102IW was the only U.S. Air Force representation, joined by participants from the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, NGB, as well as Army National Guard units from Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, and New York. Like the MANG, each other state is responsible for a critical layer of support.

    HFC participants included its command and control, communications, computers and intelligence early warning teams; its CBRN, medical and physical preparedness teams and its Agamim Branch.

    “While partnering with the other states, we also need to ensure that CENTCOM’s objectives are being met in these relationships, because Israel falls in the CENTCOM area of responsibility,” said Simison.

    To understand the standard operation procedures, culture and diversity of Israel, Simison and Ulich joined attendees in a guided tour of the Old City of Jerusalem and a food tasting tour of the historic Machane Yehuda Market.

    Israeli Brig. Gen. Liron Donnell, HFC Chief of Staff, also met with participants to speak about strategic-level and multi-domain training opportunities, long-term objectives and her working guidance, according to Lt. Col. William Powers, NGB-HFC participant.

    “I can't say enough about how hospitable they were to us,” said Ulich. “They were very cooperative, wanting to show us their capabilities and hear from us as well. I look forward to seeing what unfolds.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.22.2023
    Date Posted: 09.22.2023 10:56
    Story ID: 454047
    Location: RAMLA, IL

    Web Views: 215
    Downloads: 0

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