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More than 800 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, civilian professionals, and other military services from across the country are participant in Exercise Cyber ​​Shield alongside partners at all levels of government, with the goal of protecting the American nation from cyberattacks and threats.

The objective of Cyber ​​Shield is to develop, train and exercise cyber soldiers in internal computer network 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 industrial network owners who are victims of cyberattacks.

When we talk about cyberattacks, whether it’s independent state-sponsored criminals, we’ve all seen these attacks not only on some of our private infrastructure, but also on our critical infrastructure in every state and county, as well as within the Ministry of Defence.

– Major General Richard Neely, Air Force

The exercise, which was conducted 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’s cyber defenders and exercise are unique in that they involve military, civilian and government institutions. Many guards have civilian occupations in cyberspace, and the exercise involves both military and civilian agencies.

Cyber ​​Shield is unique because 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 National Guard soldiers have unique computer skills within the Department of Defense that can be used to protect the Army’s own networks. Protecting the nation requires the ability to defend US military networks and engage in hybrid warfare.

Under Cyber ​​Shield, the United States is attempting to train its defensive cyber operations professionals to examine whether equipment is hardened. Also, while they do all their scanning, they try to find out where the boundary is and what is protected.

U.S. Army ROTC Junior Cyber ​​Pilot

The Army’s JROTC cyber pilot program was recently spearattended by representatives from the U.S. Army, academia, and industry—a joint initiative of the United States Army Cadet Command and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and standby business (M&RA).

The goal of the program is to inspire young people to become better cyber citizens, spark interest in the field of cyber security, and build the country’s diverse cyber defense workforce. The most important aspect of this program is that students are supervised by people who have experience in the cybersecurity industry and can study and progress in a cybersecurity pathway.

Army JROTC is a character development and citizenship program for high school students that operates in more than 1,700 schools nationwide, with more than 300,000 cadets. The four-year Cyber ​​Pilot program will include 180 contact hours per year, including more than 130 hours dedicated to cyber, providing students with challenging and meaningful experiences to prepare them to enter cyberwork.

The program has a strong emphasis on ethics, as well as preparation for Computing Technology Industry Association certifications. Students will be exposed to cyber jobs as well as mentorship opportunities through engagement with government, industry, and academia, including an all-new cross-collaborative partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Sarah J. Greer