Air Force Staff Sgt. Presky, left, Army Master Sgt. McCarthy and civilian personnel concentrate on exercise scenarios during “Cyber Guard 2015″ in Suffolk, Va., June 11, 2015. Image Credit: DoD – photo by Marvin Lynchard
The Department of Defense, along with critical infrastructure operators and experts from more than 100 organizations bridging government, private sector tech firms, allies and educational institutions, recently concluded a series of cyber defense exercises where participants practiced a “whole-of-nation response” to destructive cyberattacks targeting U.S. critical infrastructure.
Now its fourth year, the “Cyber Guard” exercise drew a record number of players for a three-week cyber war game, testing 14 teams on a range of simulated attacks on two continents, the Department of Defense said.
Cyber Guard 15 took place June 8-26 in Suffolk, Virginia, where more than 1000 participants including Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel received ‘over-the-shoulder’ training, and assistance. Private industry and DoD mission owners of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) were advised on risks in critical infrastructure facilities, according to a fact sheet (PDF) published by the Defense Department following the conclusion of the exercise.
U.S. Cyber Command, the DHS and the FBI co-led the exercise, which involved private-industry organizations, including several information and sharing analysis centers, as well as public and private research institutions.
“Hands-on instruction and exercise scenarios were conducted on a classified (SECRET) closed network environment which emulates both DoD and non-DoD networks,” the DoD explained. “Blue Team ‘friendly forces’ worked to defend critical infrastructure networks and respond to a range of incidents. A live, expert opposing force (OPFOR) replicated a range of adversaries seeking to disrupt critical US infrastructure.”
“Cyber Guard is designed to exercise the interface between the Department of Defense — the active and Reserve and Guard components — that are focused on the cyber mission, and to partner with other elements of the U.S. government as well as state and local authorities,” DoD news quoted Admiral Michael Rogers, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command Commander, as saying. Rogers also serves as the director of the NSA and chief of the Central Security Service.