Supporting the Coast Guard Cyber Strategy through Cyber Guard

Written by Cmdr. Joe Morgan, Coast Guard Cyber Command

Air, land, sea and space have been the traditional operating domains for the U.S. military. However, in recent years, a new domain has been added: cyberspace.

Click the above image to read the Coast Guard Guard Cyber Strategy.

Click the above image to read the Coast Guard Guard Cyber Strategy.

Imagine that major cyber attacks against Federal networks and private industry critical infrastructure across the U.S. have caused rolling blackouts, interrupted oil and gas supplies and disrupted flow of maritime commerce.

This is the scenario that Coast Guard men and women faced with several hundred other participants in Cyber Guard 15, a recent U.S. Cyber Command annual exercise testing a whole-of-nation response to a major cyber attack against critical infrastructure.

The exercise brought together over 1,000 participants from the Defense of Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration, private firms and law enforcement to train to handle cyber incidents and ensure all the players know each other and the capabilities each can offer in case of a major compromise in the cyber domain.

The exercise immersed participants in a closed network within challenging scenarios against a live, expert opposing force that simulated a range of adversaries attacking in cyberspace.

Supporting the recently released U.S. Coast Guard Cyber Strategy, the U.S. Coast Guard Cyber Command was an active participant in the event, with a team of twelve officers and petty officers working alongside teams from other organizations and the private sector.

The Coast Guard cyber team practiced new tactics, techniques and procedures to defend its network and developed processes to achieve a partnership across DoD and DHS in support of a unified response.

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The team’s participation demonstrates how the Coast Guard is improving its capabilities and strengthening partnerships within government to help ensure our Nation’s security and prosperity in today’s rapidly evolving cyber domain.

“This is part of the Coast Guard’s embrace of cyberspace as an operating domain,” said Rear Adm. Marshall Lytle, assistant commandant for C4IT and commander of Coast Guard Cyber Command. “We’re starting with a small team at Coast Guard Cyber Command performing computer network defense functions that provide initial protect, detect and respond missions to cyber incidents. We need to continue to build capacity and capability, and form a team of Coast Guardsmen based on cyber skills to perform specialized tasks to detect and defend against attackers and support DOD’s defend the nation mission. Our participation in Cyber Guard helped reinforce our need for these specialized cyber teams to support two of the Commandant’s strategic priorities for cyberspace: defending cyberspace and protecting infrastructure.”

To learn more about the Coast Guard cyber strategy, read the recent remarks by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft.

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