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History
Minnesota National Guard
Cyber Security, Response and Emergency Preparedness

The National Guard is resuming its more traditional role in emergency response as the ground war in Southwest Asia draws down Meanwhile, another more obscure fight is escalating — the battle to protect the networks, communications and infrastructure on which our society depends

“To most people, the cyber fight is much more abstract,” said Army Staff Sgt Eric Ebner, a communications specialist with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Ebner describes it as a fight in another dimension, separate from land, sea, air, or space


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“We can think about what it’s like to fight on land, we can think about what it’s like to fight in the air,” said Ebner “But very few people can visualize in their head what it would be like to fight in cyberspace”

As the Guard works to develop its response capability to this threat, other state agencies are doing the same In April, at the third annual Minnesota Public Safety Interoperable Communications Conference in St Cloud, the Guard sent a dozen Airmen and Soldiers to exchange information and experience with other agency representatives, both in cyber response and traditional hazard response  

“We hope to get a little bit more knowledgeable about what they do, about what we do,” said Air Force Master Sgt Thomas Walton, a cyber transport technician with the 148th Fighter Wing

In St Cloud, the Guard displayed their Remote Communications Platform (RCP) The RCP is a mobile communications tower that can facilitate information sharing between first responders, local, state and federal agencies It can also extend the range of both military and civilian radio systems  It is self-sufficient with on-board power generation and can be in operation within 60 minutes of arrival on site  Walton deployed with the RCP to the Cavity Lake Fire in 2006

The Guard also has a Joint Communications Platform (JCP), which is a communications hub for a command post or incident command site It provides voice, video, radio and data services and can be used in challenging environments where commercial services are degraded or non-existent  

Such an emergency often requires the coordinated response of several state entities With ongoing rehearsals and exercises, the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs will improve its response to these emergencies

In this fight, the skill of its Service members is perhaps the Guard’s biggest asset, with the capacity and capability of being called up to respond not only to a traditional emergency, but also a cyber emergency  The cyber security mission will continue to be a high priority for the National Guard in Minnesota and around the country

By Spc Thomas Keeler
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
7 May 2012




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