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Guard cyber teams called in to get schools, agencies back online

By National Guard Bureau | Aug. 22, 2019

ARLINGTON, VA - National Guard cyber response teams are responsible for getting thousands of school children in Texas and Louisiana back online and into the classrooms.

The cyber response effort earlier this month also involved local and state cyber experts, noted Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief, National Guard Bureau.

“Effective cybersecurity requires a whole-of-government approach," Lengyel said. “We succeed because we have built and sustained close relationships with our state, local, interagency cyber partners.”

In Texas, nearly 40 Army and Air Guard cyber personnel were called upon by their governor after a large-scale ransomware attack affected local municipalities and law enforcement departments. The Guard cyber experts teamed with local and state specialists to help with cyber assessment, response and recovery efforts.

In Louisiana, the governor requested Guard cyber assets to work with state experts to get 11 school districts back online, returning thousands of students back to their classrooms.

This is not the first time National Guard cyber assets have been called upon by their governor. Cyber teams supported national elections in several states last November. In total, the National Guard has 59 total cyber units. They also have a defensive cyber operations element in all 50 states.

“Our civilian-acquired and DoD-tested cyber experience allows the National Guard to make unique contributions to cybersecurity,” Lengyel stated.

As the 28th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lengyel is charged with ensuring 453,000 Army and Air National Guard Soldiers and Airman are accessible, capable and ready to protect the homeland and to provide combat forces to the Army and the Air Force.

“Once again, the National Guard and its productive partnerships were able to help our neighbors. We’re proud we contributed to efforts to get several schools and state agencies back online,” said Lengyel. “The cyber threat is real and the National Guard will counter these threats in the months and years to come.”