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Cyber Shield 2015 tests Ohio's Computer Network Defense Team

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. George B. Davis
  • ONG
In March members of the Ohio National Guard Computer Network Defense Team joined other National Guard states' cyber defenders here for Cyber Shield 2015, an exercise designed to develop the defensive skills of the Soldiers and Airmen tasked with securing their organizations' computer networks.

Forty-six states and territories as well as several federal, state and academic organizations were represented in the exercise, according to the operations officer for Cyber Shield 2015.

The exercise simulated state government cyber security situations that required Computer Network Defense (CND) Teams, acting as Blue (friendly) Cells, to respond to the simulated security issues presented during various scenarios. Other teams acted as Red (enemy) Cells, generating the security issues by trying to gain access to or corrupt Blue Cell network activity. Other select individuals served as White Cell members and were responsible for oversight of the exercise and evaluation of Red and Blue Cell operations.

"There is a cyber battle space that is out there. States realize that this battle space is important," the exercise operations officer said. "What the National Guard brings is all the civilian skill sets that are already out there. The Guard is filled with employees that work at all of these security and IT firms and have years and years of experience. States realize that we have the current assets to help facilitate training, advisement and assisting the other state agencies that are out there."

Ohio's team had Red Cell, Blue Cell and White Cell components made up of Soldiers from Joint Force Headquarters-Ohio and Airmen from the 179th Airlift Wing, 121st Air Refueling Wing and 269th Combat Communications Squadron.

"This exercise really helps us evaluate our mission essential tasks, which are provided to the cyber security teams," said the Ohio National Guard CND Team leader. "We'll train all year on these tasks, and then we get to come to an external evaluation event that allows us to validate that we are able to respond to a state incident for cyber security."