New National Guard cyber units may help retain troops (emphasis added):
From outside the gate, the station is very low key. There are no Humvees, no big radar installations or Blackhawks baking in the California sun, just a few nondescript buildings. Inside, it is the front lines of cyber defense, but even this close to Hollywood, the training center doesn’t match the movies.
“It’s kind of hard to imagine what’s happening in the digital world. Some people think it’s like a magic black voodoo box that just does things,” Watkins says. “It’s really not. There’s a lot of work behind it and a lot more work that goes behind defending it,” Watkins says.
The Pentagon is giving the National Guard a new mission to help defend government systems from cyberattacks at military bases and government offices located across the country. It’s standing up new cyber protection units — pulling from a handful of states, including Indiana and California – to support cyber defense missions already underway in the active duty army.
“So really what the focus of these teams will be is to protect the Department of Defense information network,” says Col. Tim Thombleson, who commands the Indiana unit. “These teams in essence can work with a lot of data if somebody is trying to cause harm to our information network.”
The Pentagon will stand up a total of 10 National Guard cyber protection units between now and 2018. They’ll aim to protect military networks — and civilian ones, since the Guard also works for state governors. In Indiana, the unit will advise on ways to protect data — everything from tax returns to drivers’ licenses.
The California Guard has been doing similar work on its own for a couple of years.