By Maj. Ray McCulloch
102nd Information Operations Battalion
Cyber Shield is a culmination training event that supports the National Guard’s Defense Cyber Operations missions to defend Department of Defense assets by conducting cyber command readiness inspections, and critical infrastructure and vulnerability assessments.
“We have over forty states and two territories represented here and they plan their own training objectives and training plans based on the needs of their states,” said Lt. Col. Henry Capello, exercise commander from Louisiana Army National Guard. “This is an exercise by the soldiers for the soldiers.”
Cyber Shield started small and has grown tremendously over the last four years under Capello’s leadership and guidance. The growth of the exercise reflects the importance of the cyber domain on today’s rapidly changing environment.
“As time has evolved, we realized that we needed to focus on [non-military] networks,” said Capello. “When a governor asks for help, we have to understand what [the problem] looks like. What do your state systems look like? What does your critical infrastructure look like?”
According to Capello, what makes Cyber Shield so important right now is that this is where the National Guard gets to practice their plans so that if a “Katrina-like” event occurs, the U.S. Government is not figuring it out for the first time.
“We have an opportunity here to get ahead of the threat,” stated Capello. Cyber Shield 2017 will take place in April of this year.