DC National Guard operationalizes cyberspace in support of 57th Presidential Inauguration

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jennifer Hotte and Senior Airman Ian Caple
  • Washington D.C. National Guard Public Affairs
In support of the 57th Presidential Inauguration National Guard computer network defense teams from seven states conducted defensive cyber operations in Washington, D.C.

The Inauguration CND team consisted of 27 airmen and soldiers who provided cyber defense capabilities to Joint Force Head Quarters and Joint Task Force-D.C. during the Inauguration. These defense capabilities were applied to various voice, video, and data communication systems that supported tactical operations.

The teams were responsible with monitoring network traffic that enters a mission specific stand-alone network established using the domestic operations Joint Incident Site Communication Capability. Through doing this they were able to identify and stop threats to the network.

This joint operational mission integrated the Army and Air National Guard in a first of its kind effort. Cyber Warriors from Rhode Island, North Carolina, Washington, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, New York and Washington D.C. came together to accomplish this real-world mission. These cyber warriors are able to see attempts to penetrate their network and to defend against the threat.

"It is a unique mission because we're doing this in a joint, multi-state, multi-site, domestic operation environment for cyber defense. I was impressed with the way the teams seamlessly integrated into the overall mission of the task force" says Colonel David Sacha, Director of Communications and J6 for District of Columbia National Guard.

Many of these cyber warriors work for government and industry when not deployed by the National Guard. These citizen soldiers worked side-by-side with their fulltime National Guard counterparts during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. This unique combination of cyber knowledge and skills ensured execution of a complex mission using a spectrum of competencies that operationalized defense of cyberspace. Simply put "having strong cyber defense is critical to defending the nation," says Chief Warrant Officer, John Galeotos, D.C. National Guard, Computer Network Defense team chief.

During the Inauguration the teams not only defended the network and helped ensure system availability but also built the foundation for the emerging cyber capabilities of the National Guard. "The Guard has brought together the best cyber warriors in the country for this mission and filled the "cyber sand bags" of our network" says Lieutenant Colonel Korte, Deputy J6/A6 for D.C. Joint Force Headquarters.