Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs cyber reserve legislation
Story by Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (10/25/19)
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation Oct. 25 forming the Ohio Cyber Reserve.
The Ohio Cyber Reserve (OhCR) is an initiative born from an Adjutant General’s Department partnership with more than 200 representatives from public, private, military and educational organizations that make up the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee (OC3), which was formed to develop a stronger cybersecurity infrastructure and workforce in the state.
“The Ohio Cyber Reserve will give us the resources to support our local governments when cyber criminal attacks put computer systems at risk and threaten the safety of Ohioans,” DeWine said. “I am proud of the collaborative effort led by the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department to take an innovative idea and develop a sustainable program that can serve as a model for other states.”
The OhCR is included in Senate Bill 52, and is a volunteer cyber force under the direction and supervision of the Adjutant General’s Department. It will be composed of trained, vetted Ohio civilians. Similar to how the Ohio National Guard is placed on state active duty during a natural disaster, the OhCR would be available to assist in responding to eligible small governments affected by cyberattacks.
“When we started this initiative three years ago, Ohio needed a financially viable way to tap into the wealth of cyber talent in the state to help protect critical cyber infrastructure,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general. “The Ohio Cyber Reserve, with volunteer civilian cybersecurity experts, will provide the governor with valuable assets to reduce cyber threats and enhance resiliency.”
OhCR teams will be based in five regions throughout the state. Members will be provided training, equipment and credentials, and will work out of Ohio National Guard readiness centers. The budget allocations support at least one, 10-person team per region and can be expanded based on need, funding and willing volunteers.
The OhCR will also be available to help small municipalities conduct vulnerability testing on their computer systems. The team will also have a cyber education mission to inform students about the inherent dangers of online activities. The OhCR will encourage ethical cyber-related behavior and host interactive activities, such as cyber “capture the flag” competitions at high schools, colleges and universities, to encourage interest in those fields of study.
The new law takes effect in 90 days, however recruitment for the new OhCR teams is underway. Ohioans with cybersecurity experience who are interested in finding out more about serving on the OhCR should contact Mark Bell, cybersecurity outreach coordinator for the Adjutant General’s Department, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-336-4903. Additional information and a registration form is available at https://wss.apan.org/ng/ONG_CPT/OHCR/SitePages/Home.aspx (you will need to create a free account on the All Partners Access Network, or APAN).
Another OC3 initiative is the development of the Ohio Cyber Range, a virtual environment used for cybersecurity training and technology development. The cyber range is being implemented in stages to allow it to grow as Ohio’s cyber capabilities increase, with current sites at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Akron.