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Summit underscores team nature of cyber defense

  • Published
  • By U.S. Cyber Command Public Affairs

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – Senior leaders from around the U.S. Cyber Command enterprise discussed the future of cyber operations, evolving capabilities and deeper integration during a summit April 19.

The in-person and virtual gathering brought together Reserve Component leadership and Service Cyber Component commanders to highlight contributions, challenges and strategies in the cyber environment while focusing on increased integration and collaboration. 

Leaders engaged in a roundtable discussion about increasing Reserve Component cyber capacity/capabilities, operations in the information environment, and intelligence operations relating to cyber.   

Gen. Paul Nakasone, CYBERCOM commander and National Security Agency/Central Security Service director, talked about the value of the Total Force during his opening remarks. He said protecting the nation against malicious cyber activity is a whole-of-nation effort involving partners from industry, academia, agencies and the Guard and Reserve.

While each component brings a unique aspect to the cyber fight, the partnerships of the Total Force give America’s cyber warriors an advantage.

Guard and Reserve teammates bring skill sets from their civilian careers, boosting innovation. This expertise, coupled with service members’ ability to support their home states and work within existing partnerships, brings a valuable dynamic to the nation’s cyber defense.

“Cyber warfare is not just our future — it is our contemporary reality,” said Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “The National Guard is positioned to be leaders in the digital domain and continues to enhance our nation’s cyber capabilities in combat and in the homeland.

“With 4,000 National Guard cyber operators across 40 states, many working for leading tech companies, the National Guard has the knowledge, skills and abilities to play a critical role in the DOD’s cyber enterprise,” he added.  

This joint partnership between CYBERCOM components has already proved successful. In the 2020 elections, the Total Force paired with NSA in more than two dozen operations to secure the critical infrastructure against foreign cyber influence. 

“It was great to see all of our components come together to jointly tackle the challenges we are facing,” said Air Force Col. William Monahan, Reserve adviser to CYBERCOM and event organizer. “This is a prime example of cyber being a team sport. We are all in this together, synchronized and driving toward the best military cyber enterprise in the world.”