SEAGIRT, New Jersey – Eighteen New York Army National Guard computer security specialists are honing their skills, July 10-23, as part of Cyber Shield 2021, the Department of Defense’s largest unclassified cyber defense exercise involving approximately 800 National Guard cyber specialists, law enforcement, legal and industry partners across the country.
The Soldiers are members of the New York Defensive Cyber Operations Element and Cyber Protection Team 173, or CPT 173 for short, which is a joint New York and New Jersey unit.
While the two are separate units, they work and train together on a regular basis, according to Master Sgt. Jody Doherty, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of Cyber Protection Team 173.
The Army National Guard conducts the exercise remotely with teams operating from locations across the country and a headquarters element at Camp Williams, Utah, according to the National Guard Bureau.
The annual exercise is a concentrated effort to develop, train and exercise cyber forces in the areas of computer network internal defensive measures and cyber incident response, according to the National Guard Bureau.
These cyber defensive measures can be employed to defend and protect critical cyber infrastructure including industry, utilities, schools, health care, food suppliers as well as military facilities.
“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 Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, during a media roundtable on June 29, 2021.
“These cyber threats extend our adversaries’ reach across borders and time zones and it could have devastating consequences,” Hokansan said.
Cyber Shield 21 brings together the nation’s top cyber defense professionals from National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to various governmental, nongovernmental and industry partners in a hybrid in-person and online environment.
The first week of the exercise involves training classes and hands on exercises for participants.
The part of the exercise which kicked off on July 19 puts the cybersecurity Soldiers to work identifying an intrusion into a computer network and then countering the hacker’s actions, Doherty explained.
The exercise is similar to a command post exercise at the battalion, brigade or division level, in which Soldiers go through the same communication and logistics processes they would execute in combat, Doherty said.
New York is participating in Cyber Shield 21 with a team of 18 personnel at the New Jersey National Guard Training Center in Seagirt, New Jersey.
Another eight personnel are providing exercise support in Utah along with cyber Soldiers from Pennsylvania.
The scenario, which all participants across the country are using, involves a customer that has identified intrusions into its computer systems, Doherty explained. The state’s Governor has sent the cyber protection team in to help.
“The customer has reached out through mutual assistance channels, indicating that something bad has happened. There have been computer intrusions,” Doherty said. “Our folks show up and they run through a slew of initial policy and legal requirements, then we start looking at what we can do on their networks to counter.”
Because there are legal implications for military personnel working on non-DoD computer networks, a judge advocate general is part of the team working with the exercise scenario company, Doherty said.
The National Guard, with support from the Army Reserves, is conducting cyber incident response training designed to develop, train, and evaluate cyber-capable forces and units, threat analysis teams, operations centers, and leaders. The United States requires a full range of capabilities to defend against a variety of threats and to protect our networks.
While the New York and New Jersey cyber Soldiers are participating in the exercise from the same location, they are working as separate teams, Doherty said.
Participating independently allows the Soldiers from the two states to deal with challenges appropriate to their skill level, while still having access to more skilled members, Doherty explained.
The exercise is running for eight to nine hours each day, and after action reviews take place throughout, he said.
The goal, at the end of the exercise, is for the cyber Soldiers to identify the intrusions and to return the customers computer network to normal, Doherty said.
|Date Posted:||07.21.2021 13:33|
|Location:||SEAGIRT, NJ, US|
|Hometown:||ALBANY, NY, US|
This work, NY Army Guard cybersecurity Soldiers participate in national computer security exercise, by Eric Durr, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.