On July 17, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the completion of a two-week cyber-defense exercise, involving more than 550 participants from the government, academia, military, law enforcement and commercial sector.
The event, known as Cyber Guard 14-1, was designed to test operational and interagency coordination, as well as tactical-level operations to protect, prevent, mitigate and recover from a national cyberspace incident.
“We are continuing to learn and mature,” Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers, Cybercom commander and NSA director, said in a statement. “We have to build a construct to work seamlessly and effectively with our partners, and not just within the government, but also with industry and academia – outside [the Defense Department].”
Focusing on collaboration, critical information sharing and technical capabilities, the exercise practiced a “whole-of-nation” effort. In the event of a domestic cyber incident, officials stated federal agencies have specific and complimentary roles:
- DHS is the lead for coordinating the protection, prevention, mitigation of, and recovery from a cyber incident
- The Justice Department and the FBI are responsible for the investigation, attribution, disruption and persecution of domestic cyber crimes, as well as the collection, analysis and dissemination of domestic cyber threat intelligence
- Department of Defense is responsible for defending the nation from attack, collecting, analyzing and distributing foreign threat intelligence, and supporting DHS
- The National Guard directly helps the states affected by the cyber incident, allowing federal forces to focus on their core mission
This year’s event, organized by Cybercom and hosted by the FBI at the National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, was the largest yet with nearly twice the amount of participants than the previous year.
The exercise also included several Cyber Protection Teams–part of Cybercom’s Cyber Mission Force being built over the next few years. The teams defend DoD information networks and help support DoD’s requirement to provide foreign intelligence and assessment and active-duty capabilities to defend the nation.
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