DoD

Can the National Guard help solve states' cyber problems?

The Department of Defense, in conjunction with the National Guard, has drafted a plan to allow for better coordination and information sharing to states in the event of a cyber emergency.

Aside from the typical assistance the National Guard offers states, such as natural disaster cleanup, the Guard also helps states respond to major cyber threats or incidents. This can include securing critical infrastructure such as power plants, water treatment plants or major ports.

The new plan, known as a concept of operation, describes a framework for how information flows from the federal government — Department of Homeland Security and Cyber Command — to the states to help government officials improve their cybersecurity.

The plan is still in draft form, Lt. Col. Jody Ogle, director of communications for cyber programs at the West Virginia National Guard, told reporters Jan. 17.

“That concept of operation helps shape that framework for how that information can flow up and down” the government, Ogle said. For example, if an IT technician working for a secretary of state notices something out of the ordinary on the network, that can be passed up to higher levels of the government and included with other threat signals across sensors on the network making that initial small tidbit of information more actionable.

Ogle said he helped write the concept during a recent stint at U.S. Cyber Command’s Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks, which is tasked with defending DoD’s network.

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