Ohio’s cyber protection team hones critical skills during Cyber Shield 20
Story by Staff Sgt. Jennifer Reynolds, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (09/30/20)
Ohio’s Cyber warriors proved their capabilities to defend the nation against adversaries in cyberspace during the recently concluded annual Cyber Shield 2020 exercise.
This year’s exercise, which ran Sept. 12-27, was conducted virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More than 800 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from more than 40 states signed in for virtual training designed to sharpen their skills as network defenders.
Ohio Army National Guard personnel with Detachment 2, U.S. Army Cyber Protection Team 172 logged in from remote locations throughout Ohio to conduct training and validate their skills in the constantly changing environment of network security.
Logged onto networks and focused on their screens, Ohio’s network defenders validated their capabilities during the Cyber Shield 20 exercise, which featured a realistic digital immersive environment created to test all of the National Guard’s cyber forces.
“The validation for a cyber team is accessing our ability to assist an external organization with tasks such as doing a vulnerability assessment and conducting incident response,” said Maj. Stephen Whipkey, a computer network defense manager with Det. 2, U.S. Army CPT 172.
In order to act as cyber first responders, these cyber warriors must remain proactive by maintaining their cyber skills.
“It is a continuously evolving field,” said Spc. Daniel Ernspiker, a cyber intel analyst, with Det. 2, U.S. Army CPT 172. “As soon as you think you have everything, there is a new tool that comes out, there’s a new training environment you can get into.”
The validation at Cyber Shield 20 may just be a test, but adversaries of all backgrounds are threatening our national networks every day. Ohio’s team of cyberwarriors is consistently learning so that its members will be ready to support interstate partners and nationwide network owners when in need. These cyberwarriors will help defend the nation’s at-risk information infrastructures and can be called upon by different local entities such as power or water companies. Ohio’s cyber protection team is now validated. They are ready to meet the challenge of constantly developing threats in cyberspace.