By Sgt. Scott D. Longstreet, 241st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
BATON ROUGE, La. – Approximately 40 Louisiana National Guard Soldiers and Airmen with the state’s new Cyber Defense Incident Response Team (CDIRT) participated in a two-day training event at a newly constructed “Cyber Range” in Baton Rouge last month.
The team was created to respond to cyber events within Louisiana, to secure and restore affected networks by defeating threats and restoring normal operations in a timely and efficient manner with minimum disruption of services and capabilities.
“These Soldiers and Airmen are the first line of defense the governor has against cyber attacks on the state level. We need to protect critical infrastructures within the state, such as chemical and power plants,” said Lt. Col. Henry T. Capello, chief communications plans officer, who conducted the training.
The training included lots of hands-on exercises with real-world scenarios.
“A team member would have been on a computer terminal using a cyber-defense utility to identify attacks, high volume traffic, anomalies, etc,” said Staff Sgt. Gary Gautreaux, a member of the CDIRT. “We have a piece of equipment that simulates cyber attacks; it has a historical database of forms of attacks. Our participants were to identify and remediate those attacks.”
The training was part of a partnership with the Louisiana State University Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI) Cyber Security Initiative. It allowed the military and civilian sectors to share knowledge, Capello said.
“By working with SDMI, civilians can learn from the National Guard, and we can learn a few things from them as well,” he said.
Brig. Gen. Charles W. Chappuis, Louisiana National Guard assistant adjutant general – Air, echoed the need to train in cyber defense.
“You are an integral part of the Guard and this state,” he told the team. “Cyber attacks are happening all over the world as well as in our own state. You guys are in the position to combat these attacks at both our state level and on a national level and even abroad.”
“It’s a scary thing to think about what could happen,” Gautreaux said. “Knowing that we are doing what we can to prevent this in the future, and be Cyber-Minutemen, I feel more confident knowing that we are on the job defending the country.”