The US Department of Defense has conducted the country’s “largest” unclassified cyber defense exercise involving hundreds of American cyber and computer security specialists.

Service members and civilian experts from 20 US states and Guam gathered at the Army National Guard Professional Education Center in Arkansas to participate in the exercise.

According to the National Guard Bureau, the drill focused on performing computer network internal defensive measures and cyber incident response.

The measures are crucial in protecting critical cyber infrastructure such as schools, healthcare facilities, food suppliers, and military networks.

Florida Air National Guard Capt. DeAngela Sword said that the exercise was challenging and allowed them to improve their cyber defense skills.

“It helped our team develop an operational mindset and be tested on different tools that we have not used at our home unit,” Sword said.

A serviceman participating in a cyber defense exercise. Photo: Sgt. Trenton Fouche

‘Contemporary Reality’

The cyber defense exercise was divided into several phases, with the first involving information technology training.

The second phase allowed cybersecurity service members to test their skills against an opposing force of hackers.

They worked on identifying a computer network intrusion and countering it.

“Cyber warfare is not just our future — it is our contemporary reality,” National Guard Bureau chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson said. “The National Guard is positioned to be leaders in the digital domain and continues to enhance our nation’s cyber capabilities in combat and in the homeland.”


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