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NEWS | July 23, 2021

Colorado National Guard cyber teams participate in national cyber defense exercise

By Colorado National Guard Public Affairs CONG, TAG

FOR RELEASE: Friday, July 23, 2021 


CONG Public Affairs Office, 720-250-1053, 

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – A team of experts from the Colorado National Guard Defensive Cyber Operations Element and Cyber Protection Team have been participating in Cyber Shield, the Department of Defense’s largest national unclassified cyber defense exercise July 10-23, 2021. 

Exercises like Cyber Shield enhance readiness and strengthen relationships in the community in a cutting-edge training environment.

“This year, Cyber Shield has offered my team another opportunity to collaborate with other experts across the cyber field and refine their skills for the next time they are needed,” said Deputy Team Chief U.S. Army 1st Lt. Miles. “This year's invitation to take a step back from the keyboard and provide exercise oversight has reminded me that so often good leadership amounts to dealing with the politics and paperwork so my Soldiers may do what they were trained for. It's been a privilege to lead some of the brightest minds of the Colorado Army National Guard.”

Cyber Shield 21 is a concentrated effort to develop, train and exercise cyber forces in the areas of computer network internal defensive measures and cyber incident response. Cyber Shield 21 brings together about 800 of the nation’s top cyber defense professionals from National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to various governmental, non-governmental and industry partners in a hybrid in-person and online environment.  

“Cyber incidents are an ongoing and substantial threat in 2021; America's power plants, food supply, water supply, health care, law enforcement and defense sectors have all come under attack,” Chief, National Guard Bureau, U.S. Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson said. “These cyber threats extend our adversaries' reach across borders and time zones, and it could have devastating consequences.”

There have been attacks or attempted attacks in every U.S. state. Though the National Guard response isn’t needed for every attack, cyber defense experts stress the importance of planning and training together.

Cyber defense is not a new mission for the Colorado National Guard. The Colorado Army National Guard created the DCOE in 1999, in order to address the Y2K issue. The DCOE has grown over time as cyber threats evolved.  The CPT activated in Colorado in 2015 and is a deployable unit.

National Guard cyber protection units are part of service-specific requirements to provide cyber capabilities for the warfight while positioning CPTs in each of the 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency response regions so that Governors can access them as needed.