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    NC, Moldova Join Forces for Cyber Shield 2024

    NC, Moldova Join Forces for Cyber Shield 2024

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Hannah Tarkelly | North Carolina National Guardsmen, from the N.C. Joint Force Headquarters, and...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Hannah Tarkelly 

    449th Combat Aviation Brigade

    Moldovan Officers returned to America for a second year in a row to join North Carolina National Guardsmen during the annual Cyber Shield training event held at Virginia National Guard’s State Military Reservation in Va. Beach from May 31st to June 15th, 2024.

    Moldova and N.C. have been state partners for 28 years and this marked the second year in a row they have teamed up for Cyber Shield. Moldova is among the seven countries from the National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP) that have joined this year’s longest-running and largest Department of Defense cyber exercise.

    “It's one of our longest-standing international partner relationships,” said N.C. Army National Guardsman Lt. Col. Brian Dodd, Cyber Shield’s defense cyber team chief. “We have two members from Moldova who are training with us who are part of our team… They're on a keyboard working alongside us through any kind of cyber issues, incidents, and training.”

    N.C. Guardsmen welcomed Moldova Capt. Ion Lascu, a Senior Officer of the Defense and Cyber Security Section, and 1st Lt. Vasile Petriciuc, a Cyber Security Engineer for the Moldova Communication and Cyber Security Battalion. Both officers attended last year’s Cyber Shield event and expressed their excitement to be back.

    “We decided to come back here because we have the opportunity to learn… and to develop skills in cyber security,” Lascu said.

    N.C. National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Todd Webster, a cyber security team leader who oversaw Cyber Shield operations, has personally worked with the Republic of Moldova through the SPP for years. In 2018, he traveled to the Republic of Moldova to assist with their cyber operations and training. When he first arrived, Webster discovered that when it came to the cyber world, it was a new territory of trust between the two nations.

    “They were very protective of their information and how their systems operated,” Webster said. “They wouldn't let us go hands on the keyboard.”

    Through the SPP, the N.C. and Moldova partnership continued to strengthen and their cyber security relations grew.

    “Since then, about two years ago is really when they started making the shift,” Webster said. “They became much more welcoming and open to allowing us to see their systems and to actually assess their systems.”

    At this year’s Cyber Shield event, the Moldovan Officers were sharing sleeping quarters and a keyboard with N.C. Guardsmen as they learned from one another and developed personal bonds that would last a lifetime.

    “They're pretty much-sitting side by side with us and fighting off cyber attacks,” Webster said. “They're going to be right on our systems, right on our tools, and hunting the adversaries with us.”

    Moldova and N.C. continued to share information and utilize the partnership to strengthen both nations’ cyber capabilities.

    “We have a good relationship with our partners from North Carolina,” Lascu said. “Our colleagues supported us in a lot of activities .. in developing our incident center, response center, and skills to create our own defense capacity.”

    In today’s developing world, cyber-attacks are imminent. Therefore, it’s crucial for U.S. forces to maintain trust and companionship among their international partners.

    “They can trust us and we can trust them,” Webster said. “They're not here trying to gather intel on us and vice versa… we're here to work for the same cause.”

    Webster expressed how language barriers were not a problem when it came to technology and how in the cyber-world coding is a universal tool.

    “Technology is technology,” Webster said. “It doesn't matter what language you speak or what country you use it in, it's all the same thing.”

    Cyber Shield wasn’t just about developing one’s expertise on the computer, but about building positive relations and sharing small moments that could not be found in a coded program.

    “We not only did our work … but we were here together as friends,” Petriciuc said.

    Petriciu reminisced about how just the other day they were exchanging drinks and stories with their newfound N.C. friends on the beach after a long day of training.

    “We will continue this partnership because of our experience exchange, our common goals, and at the end we will have a good result,” Petriciuc said. “We make a good team.”


    Date Taken: 06.15.2024
    Date Posted: 06.26.2024 22:37
    Story ID: 474962

    Web Views: 186
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