DVIDS – News – The National Guard’s Next Big Mission – Critical Infrastructure Protection Opinion Piece by Maj. Gen. William “Bill” Crane, Adjutant General – West Virginia | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack

This year – like every recent year – cyber-attacks continue to exploit billions of dollars, account for countless hours of lost time, and damage customer faith in organizations and markets. These are deliberate and malicious attacks against our way of life, our society, and our nation.

Since 2021, there have been close to 100 major cyberattacks around the world. Rogue actors such as China, Russia and North Korea are testing the vulnerabilities of the systems we use every day in America – our gasoline pipelines, hospitals, water treatment plans and power grid are vulnerable to digital-to-physical attacks. The next attack we face may be devastating to our country and our way of life. Unlike a war where service members deploy beyond our nation’s borders to fight for the freedom we hold dear, cyber-attacks have the potential to reach into the homes and lives of every American.

Currently, we see these types of attacks play out in Eastern Europe, with Russia exploiting the interconnectedness of people, governments and institutions. Vulnerabilities in cyber infrastructure and critical infrastructure are being studied as targets from these nefarious actors here in the United States and abroad.

Our best defense as a nation is take action to identify vulnerabilities, protect our critical infrastructure and prevent these costly attacks rather than responding to them after the damage is done. In that same thread, states must look outside the box, as we have in West Virginia, to engage academia, government entities, technology sectors and leaders to address this growing threat.

We, as a nation, must be prepared and there is no one better to take on this mission than the men and women of the National Guard. Today’s National Guard has powerful capabilities, such as in West Virginia, where National Guard cyber experts identify vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and enhance the cyber defenses and resilience to curb future threats throughout the United States.

The National Guard needs critical infrastructure protection forces in each state, capable of performing the task of cyber protection and defense to assist Governors across the United States. The West Virginia National Guard has that capability now and stands ready, through its Army Interagency Training and Education Center (AITEC), to deliver the necessary training and expertise to each of the 54 states and territories.

Just as the nation relies upon National Guardsmen in times of national disaster, it is time to employ these citizen Soldiers and Airmen to assist in identifying and mitigating these cyber threats to the nation’s infrastructure.

For more information, contact the West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs at: 304-561-6689 or email: holli.r.nelson.mil@army.mil

Date Taken: 04.08.2022
Date Posted: 04.08.2022 12:48
Story ID: 418133

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