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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard Cyber Specialists Train with Croatian Partners

Minnesota National Guard The Minnesota National Guard takes every opportunity to cross-train with their Croatian partners In Sept, cyber response specialists from both countries met again in Zagreb, Croatia as part of an ongoing discussion of cyber operations This important mission supports three of the Minnesota National Guard adjutant general's priorities; training a competent, ready force alongside our Croatian partners; demonstrating the capabilities of an optimized force structure; and an intense focus on cyber security and response

Two warrant officer cyber specialists, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Frankie Orr and Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Pelto, represented the Minnesota National Guard Their ongoing mission is to exchange cyber concepts with their Croatian counterparts "We compared the structure of our cyber teams This is an exchange in the truest sense of the word," said Orr "Both teams are trying to understand how the other does what it does For instance, how do we formulate our policies and procedures and how do we structure our technical and managerial teams," added Pelto

During this exchange of ideas, both countries benefit "The Croatians also have experience with NATO-led exercises with their regional partners, so they bring that experience to the table," said Pelto

The Croatian team includes representatives from not only their army, but also the other service branches, ministry of defense and their intelligence community "This is truly a national effort," said Orr "They are working on it together"

During the second day of the conference, the Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard C Nash stopped by to observe the exchange The culmination of the event was a tabletop exercise, which utilized real-world examples of cyber attacks The adjutant general was in Croatia to meet with Maj. Gen. Dragutin Repinc and other Croatian leaders at various locations across Croatia to discuss defense security goals and capabilities between the Minnesota National Guard and Croatian Armed Forces

Teams from both countries returned home with new experiences to share One difference between the US and Croatian military was obvious to the cyber specialists - the US warrant officer program During the previous cyber conference, the Croatians were very interested in the specialization of the warrants compared to commissioned officers The Croatians are now incorporating warrant career tracks in their military Many of the cyber specialists are expected to become warrants, "a key component of their cyber defense posture," said Orr

The Minnesota National Guard cyber warriors look forward to additional opportunities to train with their Croatian partners in both Croatia and the US in support of their adjutant general's top priorities "These events have been a resounding success," said Orr "This collaboration with Croatia has allowed us to stage more effective cyber postures" "And the program will continue to grow and evolve," agreed Pelto

September 26, 2013
by Master Sgt Daniel Ewer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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