National Guard to Stand Up New Cyber Teams

By David Vergun
U.S. Army

This summer, the National Guard will stand up 11 new cyber teams, seven for the Army component and four for the Air Guard, Gen. Frank J. Grass, National Guard Bureau chief, said.

Grass and other reserve-component leaders testified April 29, during the Senate Appropriations Committee – Defense subcommittee hearing on the Fiscal 2016 National Guard and Reserve Budget.

“A big concern is where to put those units,” Grass said of the cyber teams. “We don’t want them all piled in one region of the country.”

Gen. Frank J. Grass, National Guard Bureau chief, testifies during the Senate Appropriations Committee - Defense subcommittee on the Fiscal Year 2016 National Guard and Reserve Budget in Washington, D.C., April 29, 2015. (Photo: screen capture)

Gen. Frank J. Grass, National Guard Bureau chief, testifies during the Senate Appropriations Committee – Defense subcommittee on the Fiscal Year 2016 National Guard and Reserve Budget in Washington, D.C., April 29, 2015. (Photo: screen capture)

The initial goal is to have Guard cyber capability in each of the 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, districts. “We’re on a path to that,” he said. Then eventually the Guard will expand that capability to every state that can support it. “That’s my commitment to the governors.”

For a state to support a cyber mission, the Guard would first need to determine if cyber-related mission skill sets and industries are available in a particular location, he said.

An obstacle that would need to be removed for future growth, is having Congress give the Guard the authorities it needs for the expansion nationwide, he told the senators. By authorities, he said he meant clarification of state versus federal authority.

So if the governor and president both call requesting cyber assistance, authorities would need to be in place to sort who does what. “We’ll come to Congress at some point” to request those authorities, he said.

Grass summed up the Guard’s cyber makeup for the future as roughly 80 to 90 percent “drill-status Guardsmen, who have civilian jobs in cyber” and the remainder full-time staff.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director, Air National Guard, said that cyber will offer huge benefits to the military services and to the communities they serve. Employers will see competitive advantages in hiring Guard or Reserve cyber experts, who can attend military cyber conferences during their training days to network and share skill sets.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, chief of the Army Reserve and commander of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, testifies during the Senate Appropriations Committee - Defense subcommittee on the Fiscal Year 2016 National Guard and Reserve Budget in Washington, D.C., April 29, 2015. (Photo: screen capture)

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, chief of the Army Reserve and commander of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, testifies during the Senate Appropriations Committee – Defense subcommittee on the Fiscal Year 2016 National Guard and Reserve Budget in Washington, D.C., April 29, 2015. (Photo: screen capture)

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, chief of the Army Reserve and commander of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, tooted the cyber horn for the Reserve.

The Army Reserve’s public-private partnership includes 3,500 cyber warriors and when adding in support from the private sector, it totals 6,500, he said. “We’re the most connected to the private sector regardless of service or component.”

Last month, a signing on Capitol Hill established a formal public-private partnership between 11 companies, including Microsoft, six universities and Army Reserve cyber, he said.

Story and information provided by the U.S. Army
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