February 28, 2024

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U.S. National Guard Boosts Cyber Resilience

Personal computer protected from external attacks by a brick wall. Digital illustration.

More than 800 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, civilian professionals, and other military services from across the country are participating in the Cyber Shield exercise alongside partners from all levels of government, with the purpose of protecting the U.S. nation from cyber-attacks and threats.

Cyber Shield’s objective is to develop, train, and exercise cyber soldiers in computer network internal defensive measures and cyber incident response. These skills enhance the ability of National Guard cyber teams to perform missions to coordinate, train, and assist federal, state, and industry network owners who are under cyberattack.

When we discuss cyberattacks, whether it’s state-sponsored, independent criminals – we’ve all seen these attacks on not only some of our private infrastructure but our critical infrastructure at every state and department as well as inside the Department of Defence.

– Maj. Gen. Richard Neely, Air Force

The exercise, which was performed at an unclassified level to allow for broader participation, is part of the National Guard’s commitment to protecting critical infrastructure from the growing threat of cyber-attacks.

The Guard cyber defenders and the exercise are distinctive in that they involve military, civilian, and government institutions. Numerous Guardsmen have civilian professions in the cyber area, and the exercise involves both military and civilian agencies.

Cyber Shield is unique since it integrates all levels of government, technology, industry, law enforcement, and other partners. In addition to their military cyber training, these cyber warriors possess distinct civilian talents and experiences that give them a major advantage over their active-duty peers.

Many soldiers of the National Guard possess unique cyber skills within the Department of Defence that can be utilised to safeguard the military’s own networks. Protecting the nation requires the capacity to defend U.S. military networks and undertake hybrid warfare.

As part of Cyber Shield, the United States is attempting to train its defensive cyber operations professionals to examine whether the equipment is hardened. Additionally, as they conduct all their scans, they are attempting to discover where the boundary is and what is being protected.

U.S. Army Junior ROTC Cyber Pilot

The Army JROTC Cyber Pilot Programme was recently launched, with representatives from the U.S. Army, academics, and industry in attendance -a collaborated initiative by the United States Army Cadet Command and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA).

The programme’s goal is to inspire young people to be better cyber citizens, spark interest in the field of cyber security, and build the nation’s diversified cyber defence workforce. The most important aspect of this programme is that students are supervised by individuals who have experience in the cyber security industry and can study and progress into a cyber security route.

Army JROTC is a character development and citizenship programme for high school students that operates in over 1,700 schools across the country, with over 300,000 cadets. The four-year Cyber Pilot curriculum will feature 180 contact hours per year, with more than 130 of those hours devoted to cyber, providing students with challenging and meaningful experiences to prepare them for entry into the cyber workforce.

There is a strong emphasis on ethics in the curriculum, as well as preparation for Computing Technology Industry Association certifications. Students will obtain exposure to cyber jobs as well as mentorship possibilities through engagement with the government, industry, and academia, including a brand-new cross-collaboration partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


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