North Dakota National Guard members participate in Cyber Shield 2021 at Camp Grafton Training Center on July 21, 2021. Anthony Koistinen, Joint Force Headquarters, North Dakota National Guard; Staff Sgt. Samuel Sindelar, 119th Wing; and Sgt. Travis Dolan Joint Force Headquarters. Cyber Shield 2021 brought together more than 750 of the nation’s top cyber defense experts from the National Guard along with various government, non-government and industrial partners in a hybrid personal and online environment. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Office / released)
By Bill Prokopyk, North Dakota National Guard
DEVILS LAKE, ND (National Guard) – The North Dakota National Guard’s cyber experts participated in Cyber Shield 2021, the Department of Defense’s largest unclassified cyber defense exercise, July 10-23.
“Cyber incidents are a persistent and significant threat in 2021; America’s power plants, food, water, health, law enforcement and defense sectors have all been under attack, “said Army General Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard’s office, during a media briefing on June 29th. Cyber threats expand the reach of our adversaries across borders and time zones and could have devastating consequences. “
Approximately 25 North Dakota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen practically participated in the exercise from Camp Grafton Training Center near Devils Lake. The exercise, which was conducted primarily in Camp Williams, Utah, enabled military and civilian cyber professionals to work together in addressing the challenges of cyber protection.
“This exercise provided excellent training for our members of the Guard, while also enabling us to develop relationships with our military counterparts in other states and with assisted civil cyber personnel protecting critical infrastructure,” said Col. Dave Hall, chief information officer of the ND National Guard.
Cyber Shield 21 brought together more than 750 of the nation’s top cyber defense experts from the National Guard along with various government, nongovernmental and industrial partners in a hybrid personal and online environment.
“The civilians involved in the exercise have a better understanding of the National Guard’s ability to assist them, and in turn we have expanded our knowledge of the unique cyber challenges they face,” said 1st Lt. Scott Leier, senior exercise participant for the North Dakota National Guard. “This exercise also enabled us to establish important relationships in a learning environment before we actually have to respond to a cyber incident.”
There have been attacks or attempted attacks in every state. While not every attack requires a National Guard response, cyber defense experts emphasize the importance of planning and training together.