NEWS | June 23, 2021

South Carolina National Guard attends cyber boot camp

By South Carolina National Guard

CHARLESTON, S.C. - South Carolina National Guard Soldiers attended The Citadel Department of Defense Cyber Institute's inaugural National Guard Cyber Boot Camp June 7-18.

Twenty-Eight South Carolina National Guard Soldiers from units assigned throughout the state participated in the Cyber Leaders Development Program.

Soldiers trained in Security+ (Sec+) and Penetration testing (PenTest+). The students learned basic to intermediate security concepts and how to conduct PenTest+ testing to enhance a company’s cybersecurity.

“There is a critical shortage of qualified cyber professionals within the Department of Defense, both military and civilian,” said Shankar Banik, CDCI Cyber and Computer Sciences professor and department head and director. “We are happy to support the cyber training of Soldiers of the South Carolina National Guard.”

The training demonstrates retention of basic cybersecurity information Guard members can apply in their military and civilian roles.

“It has been an exciting week with a lot of very good knowledge exchange and examples of real-world applications for topics we’re covering,” said Torry Crass, Sec+ instructor. Crass is an agency CISO for a state agency in North Carolina.

The Soldiers also used The Citadel’s new cyber lab with the NetLab+ framework and VMware vCloud Director, allowing hands-on training to develop and enhance cyber skills. The dedicated Cyber Lab with NetLab+ Framework will be used to train Citadel cadets in Network+, Security+, Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH), Forensics, Palo Alto Firewall, and VMware vSphere.

“For many of the student participants, this training is a career-enhancing move - both in the military and on the civilian side - and shows mastery of knowledge in order to conduct safe and effective security of a company’s architecture,” said James Billingsley, PenTest+ instructor. “It is exciting to participate with students, and I am looking forward to how they will use this knowledge.”

Billingsley is a security operations center analyst and digital forensic investigator for a power company.

“This training helps me to be more conscious of what’s out there. It gives me a knowledge of what to do and what not to do to avoid becoming a victim,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew Butler, who works as a fraud investigator in his civilian capacity.

The Citadel and the nation's other five senior military colleges (SMC) received approximately $1.5 million of federal money to establish a cybersecurity institute as pilot programs on their campus. The funds are part of a $10 million Defense Department appropriation to the National Security Agency for these institutes to help grow cybersecurity professionals in the workforce.

“The Citadel has always been a part of the South Carolina National Guard family. The opportunity to partner with them in training our Soldiers not only builds the cyber workforce capacity but really adds value to South Carolina as a whole,“ said U.S. Army Col. Linda Riedel, CDCI deputy director of operations and outreach. “When you train a National Guard Soldier, you are also training the civilian workforce and, ultimately, the community.”