San Antonio, Texas, will serve as the new home of one of the U.S. Army National Guard’s new cyber units. The Guard has announced plans to activate thirteen new cyber units throughout 23 states by the end of fiscal year 2019. The effort is part of an ongoing growth of cyber forces throughout the Department of Defense.
“The cyber threats our nation faces are real and it makes me enormously proud to see my hometown at the forefront of this ongoing battle,” U.S. Representative Will Hurd wrote in a statement reported by the San Antonio Express-News.
U.S. Representatives Joaquin Castro, Henry Cuellar, and Lamar Smith, were reported to have all requested that “Cyber City, USA” be considered for the new units.
The Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Frank J. Grass, is responsible for being the Department of Defense’s official channel of communication to Governors and State Adjutants General on all matters relating to the National Guard.
Grass serves as the 27th Chief of the Bureau and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He serves as a military adviser to President Obama, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council.
“Our goal for cyber defense is to train, equip and provide highly-skilled forces responsive to the needs of the nation,” Gen. Grass wrote in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, “Working with the Army and Air Force, our cyber squadrons and teams will provide trained and ready Soldiers and airmen to support requirements established by the services and U.S. Cyber Command.”
Seven new cyber protection teams (CPTs) will be located across Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
Four teams in California, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio, have already been announced.
Air Force Colonel Kelly Hughes said, “This is the beginning.” Hughes is the chief of the Space and Cyber Warfare Operations Division at the Air National Guard Readiness Center. He added, “This is a massive amount of force structure the Guard has laid into this mission, but this is just the first layer.”
The effort is designed to position cyber protection units in each of the 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) response regions, the statement from the Army provided.
The director of joint cyber operations at the National Guard Bureau, Air Force Colonel Timothy T. Lunderman, said the cyber teams and squadrons are another asset governors can use at the state level if necessary.
Not every state has a CPT or squadron, but Guard resources in each state, territory, and the District of Columbia has a computer network defense team or other cyber protection resources, Air Force Colonel Hughes was quoted in the Army’s official statement. “We can do this mission from anywhere. We don’t have to physically relocate to do it. As long as we have the connectivity, we can operate from home station.”
“It’s only going to grow,” Hughes said referring to the need for cyber defense assets.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2