WASHINGTON, D.C. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Fairfax-based Data Processing Unit joined representatives from 14 states in displaying cyber capabilities at the U.S. House of Representatives National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus State Cyber Day Oct. 22, 2015, at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.
“The Cyber Caucus event gave the Virginia Guard the opportunity to share with Congress the great work that our Soldiers are doing and to highlight the unique capability and skillset that Guard Soldiers bring to the fight,” said Lt. Col. Lesley Kipling, commander of the DPU. “Soldiers in the DPU have a wide breadth of information technology experience in the public and private sector, IT degrees, professional certifications and current real world experience which they draw upon to respond to cyber threats.”
Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., and Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., co-chairs of the caucus, created this opportunity for Washington officials to see the cybersecurity capabilities, coordination and partnership building in the Guard and Reserve. In addition to Army and Air Guard cyber experts and senior leaders from fourteen states, representatives from the National Governors Association and the National Guard Bureau also took part in the event.
“In the wake of massive data breaches like those at OPM, Target, and Sony, it’s becoming clear that cyber security can be as important to our defense strategy as more traditional kinds of security,” said Rep. Rob Wittman. “Members of the Virginia National Guard are working hard at the Fairfax-based Data Processing Unit to make sure our information is protected from those who would use it to do us harm, and it’s great to see the headway they’re making in those efforts.”
Kipling said that In addition to speaking with elected officials and their staffs, DPU personnel had the opportunity to talk to counterparts in other states, the Army Reserve and the Air Force Reserve, and learn about upcoming initiatives, training opportunities and experiences across the Reserve Component.
Soldiers from DPU have taken part in national-level training exercises. In March 2015, Virginia cyber warriors joined more than 350 Soldiers, Airmen and civilians from 42 states for the 2015 Cyber Shield Exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The exercise focused on training and developing National Guard cyber capabilities, and Virginia Soldiers provided the opposing force, or OPFOR, as well as exercise participants. The exercise was part of the National Guard’s ongoing efforts to improve readiness to respond to real-world cyber incidents.
The mission of the DPU is to conduct full spectrum cyber operations. The unit has more than 160 Soldiers whose missions include conducting web risk and vulnerability assessment in support of U. S. Army Cyber Command and other federal agencies.