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NEWS | July 5, 2024

Virginia Guard Cyber Brigade Validated for Federal Mobilizations

By Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As National Guard and Reserve Soldiers and Airmen joined civilian cyber professionals and international partners for Cyber Shield 24 from May 31 to June 15, the Virginia National Guard’s 91st Cyber Brigade conducted CERTEX 24 to validate multiple units for Title 10 active-duty federal mobilizations. The VNG’s State Military Reservation hosted both exercises for the first time.
“CERTEX 24 was a tremendous success with the validation of multiple cyber protection teams who are now ready for federal active-duty mobilizations,” said Col. Rusty McGuire, commander of the 91st Cyber Brigade. “We also validated SMR as a capable host installation for future cyber exercises, and the lessons learned this year will help improve the facilities for future use.”
Four cyber protection teams were validated on mission-essential tasks required to be ready for mobilization. In addition to validating Army cyber teams based in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, the Rhode Island Air National Guard’s 102nd Cyber Operations Squadron was also certified.
“This was the first time we conducted a certification in a joint environment,” McGuire said. “The leadership team from the 102nd consistently thanked us for allowing them to participate, and they provided their commander to help evaluate an Army cyber protection team.”
McGuire said the nearly $500,000 investment in improving infrastructure at SMR paid off, and the location was great for cyber exercises. While there were some growing pains with an exercise of nearly 1,000 participants, the key lessons learned were captured so any issues can be addressed before future exercises.
McGuire also commended the Virginia Army National Guard G6 information management directorate for preparing the network and supporting the exercise.
The senior leaders and staff of the 91st also hosted a delegation of senior Finnish military officers and provided a capabilities briefing to help them understand VNG cyber capabilities. The Virginia National Guard and Finland recently became partners in the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. Finnish troops will participate in future cyber exercises.
The 91st Cyber Brigade is the first and only Army National Guard Cyber Brigade with units in more than 30 states. The brigade’s five cyber protection battalions each employ two cyber protection teams whose primary mission is defensive cyberspace operations. All CPTs within the brigade are validated against U.S. Cyber Command standards.



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