National Guard strengthens cyber incident response capabilities

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Soldiers, airmen and civilians participated in Cyber Shield 17 at Camp Williams, Utah, on April 25, 2017. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Ard/Wisconsin Army National Guard)

The National Guard kicked off its premier cyber defense training exercise, also known as Cyber Shield 17, at Camp Williams, Utah, on April 23 and will continue until May 5.

The exercise has brought National Guard, Army Reserve, state and federal government agencies, and nongovernmental organization and private industry members together from 44 states and territories to test response capabilities to cyber incidents, according to Lt. Allegra Boutch, a soldier with 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

“As a governor would call up the National Guard … for a state disaster, such as a hurricane, it’s no different for a cyber event,” Louisiana National Guard Lt. Col. Henry Capello, the exercise commander, said.

The exercise is part of the National Guard’s effort to improve responses to real-world cyber incidents. Boutch said it is divided into two phases: academic instruction; and the opportunity for cyber protection teams to face trained, online adversaries to defend and mitigate cyberattacks.