An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Sept. 25, 2023

Massachusetts Guard Attends Planning Conference in Israel

By Airman 1st Class Julia Ahaesy, 102nd Intelligence Wing

RAMLA, Israel - Members of the 102nd Intelligence Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard, attended the National Guard Bureau-Home Front Command annual planning conference in Israel July 22-28.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brendan Simison, Plans and Engineering Division chief, and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ulich, 102nd Communications Flight senior enlisted leader, met with HFC to continue developing their bilateral cyber partnership.

HFC is Israel’s domestic response force, which augments local authorities to protect civilian populations during emergencies. The unit exists to save lives in search-and-rescue missions worldwide, according to the Israel Defense Forces website. The MANG has been working with HFC since 2017.

The NGB and HFC partnership serves four functions, known as lines of activities (LOAs), in an emergency: civil support; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear; urban search and rescue; and cyber. The MANG leads NGB cyber efforts.

As part of the MANG, the 253rd Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group’s stateside role is to provide all kinds of cyber support, from network computers to radios and satellite phones. In this partnership with Israel’s HFC, they provide cyber support to Israel’s Civil Support Team.

“Cyber is the glue that enables all command and control functions of the various LOAs,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Joseph Morrissey, assistant adjutant general for Air, Massachusetts Air National Guard. “Given the HFC mission to communicate with civil authorities during emergencies, it is a natural fit for the MANG to partner with the HFC in this arena.”

Simison and Ulich worked with their Israeli counterparts to share their experiences, knowledge and best practices to establish and maintain communications during major disasters. They discussed HFC command and control capabilities with HFC cyber representatives Lt. Col. Itay Zamir and civilian Levi Itach. 

Israel’s HFC is well known for its search and rescue mission, providing critical rapid response in emergencies to protect civilians, restore order and save lives.

“My impression when we were there is that the Home Front Command and their response team is an elite team in the world and have deployed to many, many events,” said Ulich.

HFC members recounted their experiences responding to several incidents, including the 2021 beachfront apartment building collapse in Miami and the earthquake in Turkey in February.

Ulrich said the conference was a vital opportunity for the Guard and HFC to learn from each other.

“They identified they have some handheld radio shortfalls that we could probably help out teaching the training we’ve received for our Joint Incident Site Communications Capability package here, bridging the different radios and networks together,” he said.

Long-term objectives of the partnership include planning joint training for the next two years. The MANG will apply what they learned at the conference to the upcoming Cyber Yankee 24 exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod and other interactive training.

“Those future training opportunities will help should there be an incident where we’re going to respond together,” said Simison.

The MANG will also supplement in-person events with virtual meetings to keep the communication going. 

The 102IW was joined at the conference by participants from the U.S. Central Command, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, the NGB and Army National Guard units from Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and New York. 

HFC participants included its command and control, communications, computers and intelligence early warning teams; its CBRN, medical and physical preparedness teams; and its Agamim Branch.

Israeli Brig. Gen. Liron Donnell, HFC chief of staff, also met with participants to speak about strategic and multidomain training opportunities, long-term objectives and her working guidance, according to Lt. Col. William Powers, NGB-HFC participant.

“I can’t say enough about how hospitable they were to us,” said Ulich. “They were very cooperative, wanting to show us their capabilities and hear from us as well. I look forward to seeing what unfolds.”
 

 

 

Related Articles
U.S. Soldiers, U.S. Airmen, and a Department of Defense civilian ride in the back of a Chinook helicopter to observe training activities during the Maple Thunder exercise in Savannah, Georgia, Jan. 29, 2024.
Vermont Airmen Test Agility During Multistate Exercise
By Tech. Sgt. Richard Mekkri, | Feb. 8, 2024
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Nearly 260 members of the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing and other Airmen and civilians from across the country participated in the ACE exercise Maple Thunder Jan. 22-Feb. 3.“ACE is short for...

104th Fighter Wing Airmen spend regularly scheduled drill weekend conducting a base-wide readiness exercise Nov. 2-5, 2023, at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts. Airmen showcased their abilities to sustain operations while engaged with a simulated near peer adversary.
104th Fighter Wing Conducts Readiness Exercise
By Master Sgt. Lindsey Watson, | Nov. 6, 2023
WESTFIELD, Mass. - The 104th Fighter Wing conducted a four-day, base-wide readiness exercise Nov. 2-5 at Barnes Air National Guard Base.“The REX provides the wing the chance to test interoperability with other local military...

New York Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Michele Natali, left, the assistant adjutant general, Army; and New York Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael Hewson, the senior enlisted advisor for the New York Air National Guard, salute following the presentation of a wreath during a Memorial Day ceremony at New York National Guard headquarters in Latham, New York, May 25, 2023. The names of 12 members of the New York Military Forces and civilian employees of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs who have died in the past year were also read during the ceremony.
National Guard Honors Fallen in Memorial Day Observances
By Eric Durr and Lt. Col. Keith Hickox, | May 26, 2023
ARLINGTON, Va. - The National Guard is honoring service members who died for their country in Memorial Day observances across the country this weekend. “When we remember what the fallen have given us, when we remember why...