The Army National Guard is taking a major step to bolster state and federal cybersecurity defenses by activating 10 new cyber protection teams across the country over the next three years.
So far, the National Guard has announced which states will host three of the 10 cyber protection teams (CPTs) set to launch in fiscal 2016: Georgia and California will each host a team; Michigan, Indiana and Ohio will host the third CPT. The locations for the other seven teams have not been announced.
"This is a significant step helping to boost state and federal cyber defense capabilities," Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, acting director of the Army National Guard, said in a statement. "It reflects the tremendous momentum well under way across the Army to organize, train and equip cyberspace operations forces."
The cyber teams will be staffed by National Guard citizen soldiers, many of whom work in the IT sector or academic sectors and have expertise about cyberdefense policies, tactics and techniques, according to the National Guard. These citizen Soldiers will work part time to support their states’ governor and National Guard.
Another four teams will be launched in fiscal 2017, and the last of the 10 teams will be stood up in fiscal 2018. Members of those teams will undergo specialized cybertraining, which usually lasts four months to a year.
In addition to serving a state’s cybersecurity needs, the CPTs will provide surge support to Army Cyber Command and support defensive cyberspace operations when on federal active duty.
States were selected to host the new cyber teams, following a thorough review and evaluation of applications representing 45 states, territories and Washington, D.C.
Not all CPTs are part time; the Army National Guard established a full-time team in 2014, with soldiers from 19 states and two territories. That team is currently training for future missions.
"The Army is actively developing a total force of elite, trained, trusted and disciplined cyber professionals,” Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, commanding general of the U.S. Army Cyber Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., said in a statement. "Citizen soldiers are already an essential part of the Total Army, so these cyber professionals, many of whom bring private sector experience, will enhance the Army's cyberspace capabilities and capacities."