By Douglas A. Solivan Sr.
Logistics and Readiness Center, CECOM
To keep pace with training demands of the Army’s growing cyber force, the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, or CECOM, is standing up a new training range to help soldiers validate their cyber security skills.
Expected to be open to all units later this summer, CECOM’s Cyber Battleground Range will provide soldiers a realistic environment to test and apply skills reinforced by classroom training curriculum. Funded through service requests, its development was prompted by a request from the 7th Cyber Protection Brigade, or CPB, which was looking for opportunities to further hone and demonstrate its cyber defensive skills.
“The genesis of the effort was with the 7th CPB, who requested we develop this for them,” said Col. Kim Bivin, director for the Field Support, Logistics and Readiness Center, or LRC, CECOM. “Our training support leadership stepped in, and after six months of hard work, we opened for business in February.”
The cyber range delivers a persistent, continuously maintained environment to reduce the timeline and costs between training planning and event execution. When it is expanded for Army-wide use this summer, the range will have the capability to provide an operationally realistic environment with functionality for remote participation via CECOM’s Learning Management Platform.
“The range is designed to reinforce learning and build confidence in what leadership acknowledges is an agile skill set that will need to be continuously honed in concert with the ever-increasingly complex challenges of cyber security.” said Michael Martinez, training support division branch chief, field support directorate, LRC, CECOM. “To date, we’ve had at least 100 7th CPB soldiers take advantage of it.”
Specifically, the range offers an operationally realistic environment with repeatable processes, access to enterprise tools and services not typically available in smaller scale test labs. All with threat scenario development and threat automation capabilities. CECOM can also develop configurations to support multiple environments/configurations through the cyber range and has incorporated real world Cyber Actor/Cyber Threat characterization, dynamic threat actor/agent capability into training.
“We really have the ability to tailor training programs per a unit’s specific needs,” Martinez said. “The goal is to map out a training program so that when soldiers use the range, they are able to address learning needs most critical to their mission, as opposed to a cookie-cutter training curriculum.”
To inquire about setting up a training event once the range opens, visit the U.S. Army site.
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