Archive for the ‘Cyber’ Category

Air Force Reserve Component Launches Direct Commission Program; Constructive Service Credit for Cyberspace Warfare Operations Career Field

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs


The Department of the Air Force has announced that the Air Reserve component has initiated a direct commission and constructive service credit program memo for people interested in serving in the cyber security and cyberspace warfare operations career fields.

Brig. Gen. Terrence Adams, deputy principal cyber advisor to the Secretary of Defense and senior military advisor for Cyber Policy, made the announcement on behalf of the Air Force at the Aspen Institute Cyber Summit in New York.

“As our nation faces tough challenges in the cyberspace warfighting domain, the Air Force Reserve needs the best talent America has to offer,” Adams said. “The Cyber Direct Commission program is designed to attract highly skilled cyber professionals from industry and enlisted career fields who want to serve their nation in a part time capacity.”

Enlisted personnel and civilians qualified to serve as Air Force Warfighter Communications Operators (17D) and Cyberspace Effects Operators (17S) can earn a direct commission as an Air Force officer. Also eligible are personnel who are qualified to earn a cyberspace engineer/agile software developer – Cyberspace Engineering “Z” prefix as outlined in the Air Force Officer Classification Directory.

“This program will allow the service to access cutting edge talent and leverage private sector skills to make us more competitive in the changing world environment,” said Alex Wagner, assistance secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

A review board will determine if candidates are eligible for constructive service credit for prior commissioned service, advanced education, and special training or experience.

Constructive service credit is used to determine initial grade, rank and service for promotion eligibility and is usually granted in year-long increments.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

·?? Be eligible for a commission in the Air Force, including physical standards for entrance

·?? Possess or be eligible for a top secret/sensitive compartmented information security clearance

·?? Have a quantifiable record of leadership, management or supervisory experience in academia, civilian and/or military organizations (preferred)

·?? Have qualifying advanced education, specialized training and/or experience in cyber-related fields as outlined in the memo

Candidates will incur an initial four-year Selective Reserve obligation from the date of appointment or commission and an additional four-year Inactive Ready Reserve obligation. They will also be required to complete the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School program. Their monthly reserve obligation will depend on the needs of their units, training requirements and mission requirements.

This program follows a regular Air Force pilot program for direct commissioning into cyber career fields and constructive service credit launched in 2020.

This is the first time the reserve component has opened direct commissions to career fields other than lawyers, chaplains and medical personnel. The service may consider expanding the direct commission program to other reserve and Guard career fields in the future.

Career fields that may be considered are operations analyst, intelligence, security forces, chemist, nuclear chemist, physicists, nuclear physicists, developmental engineer and acquisition manager.

Regional Cyber Centers Help Secure, Operate, Maintain Army Networks

Thursday, November 16th, 2023

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. — Everything the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command does supports an Army Unified Network based on zero-trust principles.

NETCOM is a global organization, and it’s a 24/7/365 team effort incorporating continuous improvement strategies to support the Army’s digital modernization efforts. Regional Cyber Centers are game-changers around the command and hold the key to helping NETCOM and its customers, attain mission success.

During the inaugural Regional Cyber Center Summit held Oct. 23-27, 2023, RCC leadership from around the globe gathered at Greely Hall to collaborate with NETCOM senior leaders and subject matter experts. Leaders discussed the importance of streamlining future RCC operations and the organizational structure changes needed to enable better AUN operations and services, orchestrated under a Global Cyber Center.

Since their inception roughly ten years ago, Regional Cyber Centers have been crucial for the Army, NETCOM and the warfighter.

“Regional Cyber Centers are our most important asset in NETCOM,” said Patrick Dedham, NETCOM deputy to the commanding general. “Because they are securing, operating and maintaining the network day to day, and also improving it.”

RCCs are a critical part of the NETCOM enterprise and are key enablers to current operations, as well as continuous improvement of the Army Department of Defense Information Networks activities.

NETCOM must ensure RCCs are properly resourced and synchronized to support the Army’s priorities.

“Our number one priority when it comes to transformation is the network,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George at this year’s annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army.

Modernizing the network has been one of the Army’s top modernization priorities, and the RCC’s continuous improvement efforts will be crucial in shaping the Army of 2030.

The summit presented leaders with the opportunity to look at past practices to help shape future operations.

“I don’t think the mission set we gave you almost ten years ago is the same mission set you do today,” explained NETCOM Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Christopher Eubank.

With the role RCCs play in securing, operating and maintaining the network, having global representatives from all six unique centers in one place helped gain a shared understanding of how a Global Cyber Center concept can help better synchronize and streamline RCC operations and efforts.

“Every RCC is different across theaters,” said RCC-Continental United States Director, Lt. Col. Victor Yinh. “Getting all the directors together to talk RCC specifics helped us understand our differences to help standardize how we operate.”

Through leader breakout sessions, question and answer engagements with subject matter experts and engaging dialogues, those present were able to collectively set the conditions for increased efficiencies and effectiveness for 2023 and beyond.

“We got a shared understanding of where we want efforts to move to get us to our end state faster,” said RCC-C Sergeant Major, Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Davis. “This was great because the RCCs needed their own forum for securing, operating and maintaining the network on behalf of NETCOM.”

NETCOM is a two-star operational command with global responsibilities that is in competition, crisis, and conflict 24/7/365. The collective RCC missions are no-fail in nature. As they continue building off the success of the inaugural summit, their continued collaborations and collective efforts will be needed on a grand scale.

“The Army is relying on us,” Eubank said. “Let’s not let them down.”

Story by SFC Kelvin Ringold

U.S. Army graphic by Amanda Pearson

SOFWERX- USSOCOM Innovation Foundry Event: SOF Aspects of Cyber Security in 2035

Thursday, October 12th, 2023

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM’s Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T) Futures, will host the fourteenth Innovation Foundry (IF14) Event in Tampa, FL, 12-14 December 2023, which intends to bring together Special Operations Forces (SOF), industry, academia, national labs, government, and futurists in an exploration, design thinking, facilitated event to assist USSOCOM in decomposing future scenarios and missions.

Political, social, and technological developments will have an increasing impact on the future of world societies. Organizations, militaries, governments, and entire economies rely on complex digital infrastructures for their operations. The safety and reliability of these information systems are of significant concern to organizations around the world, while malicious actors seek to exploit vulnerabilities to achieve their ends. Because of this, cyber security has been a focus of increasing attention and will be of critical importance in the future operational environment.

The theme of IF14 is SOF Aspects of Cyber Security in 2035. The event seeks to explore the nature of cyber security operations and infrastructure in 2035 and SOF’s role in this environment.

Specific areas of interest include the growth of digital infrastructure for civilian and military systems; the impact of artificial intelligence technologies in the design, implementation, exploitation, and securing of information systems; the impact of innovative communications, networking, and control systems on future cyber infrastructure; advancements of quantum computing and encryption tools; as well as offensive and defensive approaches including prevention, pre-emption, detection, isolation, defeat, and the exploitation of digital vulnerabilities.

In this effort, S&T Futures is working with the Next-Generation Effects (NGE) and Network and Data Management (NDM) Capability Function Areas, in conjunction with echelons of intelligence and operational staff.

S&T Futures has developed and refined a unique process, the Innovation Cycle, to engage technology pioneers and leaders, and to discover and develop high risk, innovative, and disruptive technologies for future on-boarding. This Innovation Foundry is the first phase of the Innovation Cycle and will be focused on idea generation. Deliverables for the IF14 event will include preliminary capability concepts targeting the defined problem areas which may impact SOF forces and operations in the 2035 timeframe in cyber security. This event will be followed by: 1) a Rapid Capability Assessment (RCA) to further develop the preliminary capability concepts and, 2) a series of Integrated Technology Sprints (ITS) to demonstrate proofs of concept.

For more information, visit

Submit NLT 30 October 2023 11:59 PM ET.

Texas National Guard, Chile Partner for Cyber Training

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas National Guard and the Chilean Army conducted a joint cybersecurity exercise in Santiago, Chile, Aug. 28-30, as part of the State Partnership Program.

Col. Christopher Howell, chief of the Cyber Operations Branch, Joint Force Headquarters, Texas Military Department, said exchanging knowledge is a valuable tool to improve cybersecurity in both countries.

“We want them [Chile] to further understand how Chile’s cyber operations and organizational capabilities employ tactical responses at a military level. Also, we discussed the communications within their country,” Howell said.

As cyber threats become more common, supporting both countries’ relationships and strengthening the bonds between the military and their civilian counterparts is crucial, Howell said.

First Lt. Jose Pantoja with the Chilean Navy said these long-term partnerships are critical for international security.

“I think keeping this relationship between Chile and Texas is fundamental to develop our capacities and our apprenticeships to improve our defenses,” said Pantoja. “With this experience, the Texas National Guard shares with us their knowledge and training for maintaining our systems. We are also learning how they coordinate with their citizens.”

The exercise included a simulated cyber attack on a Chilean government website. Partners from both countries worked together to overcome challenges and address vulnerabilities.

Sgt. Maj. Darla Wright, senior noncommissioned officer for the Cyber Operations Branch, Texas Military Department, said building junior Soldiers’ knowledge benefits the military and the individuals.

“We wanted to share the different aspects that have been key to retain and recruit cyber personnel within the organization, and that is making every person understand their contribution and their effort is recognized, and this will create growth within the cyber-intelligence field now and for the future,” Wright said.

The Texas National Guard leaders also discussed the importance of rewarding hard work, developing individuals’ skills, and allowing each member the opportunity to advance within the Chilean Army.

“Often, the best recruiter is the person who is already doing that job. They have those skill sets, so the different things that we can help is to interview the talent within and train Soldiers to become instructors,“ Wright said.

The Texas National Guard and the Chilean Army have been partners under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since 2008. They will continue to work together to share information, develop personnel, and respond to cyber threats and guidance for the future.

The 30-year-old SPP program has grown to include 88 partnerships with 100 nations.

By Sarah Snedden, Texas Military Department

USSOCOM Awards Accrete Contract for AI Agent Argus to Detect Disinformation Threats from Social Media

Tuesday, September 5th, 2023

Anomaly detection AI software, Argus, analyzes social media data to predict emergent narratives and generate intelligence reports at a speed and scale that empowers military forces to neutralize viral disinformation threats.

New York, NY, August 29, 2023 – Accrete AI, a leading dual-use enterprise AI company, deployed its AI software for open-source threat detection, Argus, with the U.S. Department of Defense in 2022. Today, Accrete is excited to announce that it has been awarded a new contract by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to deploy Argus to enable intelligence analysts and special operators in USSOCOM to predict real time disinformation threats from social media.

“Synthetic media, including AI-generated viral narratives, deep fakes, and other harmful social media-based applications of AI, pose a serious threat to U.S national security and civil society,” said Prashant Bhuyan, Founder and CEO of Accrete. “Social media is widely recognized as an unregulated environment where adversaries routinely exploit reasoning vulnerabilities and manipulate behavior through the intentional spread of disinformation. USSOCOM is at the tip of the spear in recognizing the critical need to identify and analytically predict social media narratives at an embryonic stage before those narratives evolve and gain traction. Accrete is proud to support USSOCOM’s mission.”

Argus Social, An Interactive AI Agent for Disinformation Threat Detection

Accrete will also launch an enterprise version of Argus Social for disinformation threat detection later this year called Nebula Social. Nebula Social will address urgent customer pain points pertaining to AI-generated synthetic media, including heightened risk from viral disinformation and deep fakes. Managing AI-generated synthetic media risk requires an AI agent capable of autonomously learning what is most important to an enterprise and predicting the most relevant emergent social media narratives across modalities, including language, image, video, and audio, before they influence behavior. 

Nebula Social not only aims to help enterprise customers manage synthetic media risk, such as AI-generated smear campaigns from competitors, but also to autonomously generate timely and relevant content that matches the most influential emergent narratives with authentically engaged audiences to drive more efficient product innovation and go-to-market strategies. Nebula Social has the potential to significantly expand the traditional social listening market by satiating latent enterprise demand for more intelligent and predictive social media tools for a variety of use cases, including crisis management, product innovation, recruiting, marketing, and political strategy. 

According to Bhuyan, “Government agencies and enterprises alike have an urgent need to manage a plethora of risks and opportunities posed by AI-generated synthetic media.” Bhuyan goes on to say, “Companies are already experiencing significant economic damage caused by the spread of AI-generated viral disinformation and deep fakes manufactured by competitors, disgruntled employees, and other types of adversaries. We believe that the market for AI that can predict and neutralize malign AI-generated synthetic media is about to explode.”

?Contact Accrete to learn more about our latest social media AI solutions.

Cyber Quest 23 Informs Cyber and Electronic Warfare Program Managers

Friday, September 1st, 2023

FORT GORDON, Ga. — Environment matters when it comes to experimentation and analysis of capabilities for the Army. To determine how a piece of technology will perform on the battlefield, the right environment is needed that replicates many of the battlefield variables.

In the electronic warfare and cyberspace — shortened as EW and cyber — communities, Cyber Quest is that environment. Developed with purpose, Cyber Quest is the perfect place for EW and cyber to experiment and analyze potential technologies that may make their way onto the battlefield one day. It’s where Soldiers, industry and government partners come together for a common purpose — inform capability development in various portfolios including EW and cyber, areas not only critical to the Army but critical to the Program Executive Office, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors — known as PEO IEW&S.

This annual prototype assessment, now in its eighth year, explores industry innovations and captures Soldier feedback through a series of rigorous and objective experimentations to provide evidence-based results. Soldiers from the U.S., Australia and Canada took part in evaluating technologies this year.

“Cyber Quest is about making sure the interaction between the science and the practitioners is at the right level,” Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence said during his opening remarks. “We take the state-of-the-art capabilities that industry and the scientific community have been working on and we refine them in accordance with what Soldiers tell us they need.”

Anyone within the EW and cyber communities will agree, things move incredibly fast and change constantly. To keep pace, events like Cyber Quest help inform the requirements documents and ultimately increase the rapid acquisition of EW and cyber capabilities.

Members from the EW and cyber requirements and acquisition communities, as well as Soldiers, attend Cyber Quest to see what industry has developed and how those capabilities performed in the experimentations during a culminating distinguished visitors day event.

Due to its focus, Cyber Quest has become the premier prototyping event for the Army, and feeds into larger Army technology assessments like Project Convergence.

From a product manager perspective, “Cyber Quest allows us to see a broader perspective of what’s going on in the [EW] community,” Liz Bledsoe, Product Manager, Electronic Warfare Integration, explained. “There may be technology here we can use in some capacity in the future.”

Beyond the technology results, networking with the community adds even more value to Cyber Quest. “Stakeholder relationships is important at our level,” Bledsoe said. “I met with our Canadian and Australian allies in attendance to catch up and talk shop. We operate alongside both countries often so it’s important we keep those relations up.”

Bledsoe’s work focuses on the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool, or EWPMT, a commander’s tool to remotely control and manage electromagnetic spectrum assets to execute offensive and defensive EW operations. At Cyber Quest, EWPMT was set up to receive data from the participating vendor products and was able to receive data as a result. “Experimentations are great. Any of the data we get from Cyber Quest helps with the future of EWPMT,” Bledsoe explained.

The experimentation aspect of Cyber Quest is fairly unique and can provide the acquisition community a look ahead. “If there’s something really important, we see in the final results, could be positive or negative, it gives us insight on changes we need to make and where can we build the capability up to,” Bledsoe explained. “We may identify aspects the Combat Capabilities Development Command, Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center or other science and technology organization could work through first and then we can pick up and implement it in two to three years.”

The experimentation component of Cyber Quest 23 also drives home an increasingly important aspect of software development — Soldier feedback matters.

“If you want good Soldier feedback, you have to show you value it in the first place by quickly integrating feedback into the next iteration of a product,” Bledsoe said.

She hopes to be able to take data from the experimentations and Soldier feedback back to her team to help them further develop and improve EWPMT.

“This community is at the nexus of the science and the practitioners, new protocols, new kit, new antennas, new algorithms — aligning with our Signal, EW and Cyber Soldiers – this is our time at Cyber Quest to make sure things work,” Stanton explained. “What we’ve done here at Cyber Quest informs future requirements and capability drops that we hand off to our Acquisition community to buy and build the equipment that’s going to work the way we need it to. It does us no good to give Soldiers a piece of kit that is not going to function under the extreme circumstances of the operating environment.”

By Shawn Nesaw

Leaders Give Update on ‘Modern Triad’

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Space, cyber and special operations leaders said America and its allies continue to integrate capabilities in a triad intended to influence multi-domain and full-spectrum operations and provide the joint force with an enhanced capability to see, sense, stimulate, strike and assess across the spectrum.

The triad panel members: Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command; Lt. Gen. Maria B. Barrett, commanding general of U.S. Army Cyber Command; Lt. Gen. Jon Braga, commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations Command; and United Kingdom Royal Air Force Air Commodore Adam Bone, U.K. Space Command director of operations, plans and training; participated on a panel discussing the triad during the 26th annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Aug. 8.

“The combined use of space, cyber and special operations force capabilities provides other options to commanders that are less likely to cause escalation,” Karbler said. “When you look at what the triad demonstrates in its ability to integrate and synchronize space, cyber and SOF capabilities at the most effective, tactical echelon and then expand options for creative venues to exploit, that is what commanders and joint forces are looking for.”

Karbler said USASMDC is the Army’s force modernization proponent and operational integrator for global space, missile defense and high-altitude capabilities, and that space capabilities enable land operations in multiple ways in the same way that land capabilities enable space operations.

“We have explored countless opportunities and taken advantage of different exercises that all of us have gone arm-in-arm to demonstrate capabilities the triad brings,” Karbler said. “When you look at the complimentary, reinforcing nature of each capability and how they present multiple dilemmas for the enemy, the overall effect is greater than the sum of each individual effect.”

Bone said the UK is realistic about its current status as a military space power, creating the U.K.’s Space Command to help advance U.K. and allied equities in space.

“We are justifiably more confident of our established U.K. strengths in special forces, cyber and intelligence,” Bone said. “The obvious next steps are to leverage those strengths in the space domain. With that in mind, the innovation we see the U.S. Army leading is of significant interest.”

Bone said the U.K. Space Command recognizes the triad’s acknowledgment that the space domain provides a vital role in national defense. He added the U.K.’s capabilities across special forces and cyber domains are highly regarded by partners globally, and it is only rational to demonstrate ambition to leverage and support such potent resources in the space domain.

“By synchronizing effects, the layered output adds up to be greater than the sum of their parts — that’s what makes the triad concept so valuable,” Bone said. “And, it links neatly with the U.K. concept of multi domain integration. If space is recognized by the U.K. to be the most essential integrator, why wouldn’t we also want to make the most of those connections in mutual multi-domain support?”

Bone said in regard to U.K. Space Command’s connection with the U.S. Army, and in particular USASMDC, that there are synergies between the organizations, highlighting the scale, mindset and approach. He added that experimentation, innovation and operational integration are all second nature because of this.

“U.K. defense broadly understands the value of ‘space as an enabler,’ but we haven’t quite indoctrinated the joint force in the opportunity of ‘space as an effector’ in its own right,” Bone said. “The triad concept will act as a proving ground for this employment within a slightly smaller community of interest that has both the operational necessity and experience to drive this forward, particularly given the synergies between the space and cyber domains. In turn, we hope that the subsequent lessons and vignettes will help further the U.K. multi-domain integration concept — maximizing the value of the space domain within U.K. operations.”

These space, cyber and special operations experts said the synergy of these organizations help the joint force, Army and U.S. allies and partners to face the future. With space, special operations and cyber all possessing unique but independent capabilities, each component can rapidly gain intelligence and attack critical vulnerabilities.

Barrett said they are focused on synchronizing and converging each organization’s capabilities to create an effect and combining their unique capabilities and efforts to facilitate the use of these capabilities with either combatant commanders or their service commanders in the theaters.

She said the triad is a partnership that will help the Army and joint force commanders achieve information advantage. Barrett added the triad is more than an idea saying they are already coming up with solutions and tools together as a team.

“The triad brings an essential aspect of battlefield geometry that alone none of us can,” Barrett said. “We now have an understanding of what is happening in the competition’s space we previously did not have.

“We will never run out of challenges,” she added. “We have to provide the proof of concept that this works and that it’s worth the investment. Adaptation and innovation are imperative. We can see what the threat is and know we are going to have to do to adapt.”

Braga said during the last year, his command has started to change their organizational structures for tomorrow’s needs. He added they are integrating triad concepts into doctrine and exploring professional educational opportunities and the development of a new military occupational specialty to codify the focus and investment required to achieve success.

“Moving forward I would expect more adaption to technology,” Braga said. “Adaptation of technology and how you leverage them affects elements from SOF, space and cyber communities.

“Innovation is a mindset, and if not us, then who?” Braga asked. “Who is going to adapt the changing technology of all three legs of the triad? Who is going to embrace that technological change to their advantage the quickest and the fastest?”

Braga asked if space, cyber and SOF and its coalition partners were prepared to win if the country faces a high-end conflict.

“That is what’s before us,” Braga said. “Although the weight of that burden is not 100 percent on the legs of the triad, we certainly have a major role to play and an outsized ability to influence and prevent and contribute toward deterrence with this modern day triad.”

By Jason Cutshaw, USASMDC

Reserve Cyber Marines Support Tradewinds 23 after Winning Another USMC Cyber Games

Monday, August 14th, 2023


Marines from 6th Communication Battalion reclaimed the first-place title for the Marine Corps Cyber Games May 1-5, 2023, as the only Marine Reserve unit to compete.

Despite tying for first place with I Marine Expeditionary Force, 6th Comm Bn are still the reigning champions of the semi-annual competition as both units earned perfect scores in their respective events. 6th Comm Bn didn’t compete in 2022 due to operational tempo and were unable to send a team but they won first place in the 2020, 2021 and now the 2023 USMC Cyber Games.

“We’re lucky to have such a talented group of Marines,” said Lt. Col. Marc McNeill, commanding officer of Headquarters Company, 6th Comm Bn.

“Their performance in this competition, as well as their wins in the 2020 and 2021 USMC Cyber Games, really shows the capabilities that the reserve component can bring to the fight.” Lt. Col. Marc McNeill, commanding officer of Headquarters Company, 6th Comm Bn.

The Cyber Games provide Marine Corps units an opportunity to compete in tailored scenarios and challenges of varying difficulty to test their knowledge and skills of defensive cyber operations. Marines also learn new skills to better their cyber proficiency.

A total of five teams of six to 12 Marines each competed this year from different units, including Marine Special Operations Command, I MEF, III MEF, 8th Comm Bn and 6th Comm Bn. These teams engage in a simulated environment where they were given 24 hours over a two-day period to gather as many cyber flags as possible of differing levels.

The 6th COMM Bn team consisted of Marines from both Alpha Company, Bravo Company and one Marine from the Marine Innovation Unit. From Alpha Company, Warrant Officer Travis Nichols, a defense cyber weapons officer, Gunnery Sgt. Adam Radloff, a cyberspace operation chief, Staff Sgt. Michael Torres, a network administrator, Staff Sgt. Ezell Hardman Sgt. James Johnson, both cyberspace warfare operators. From Bravo Company, Staff Sgts. David Osborne, Tyler Short, Nicholas Szantos, Cpl. Joshua Mackaman and Lance Cpl. Nirajan Poudel, all defense cyberspace warfare operators. From MIU was Maj. Robert McCartney, a communications officer.

“Many of these Marines are cybersecurity professionals in the civilian careers and are as technically proficient as anyone in the Marine Corps,” said McNeill. “Most of these Marines didn’t start their careers as [cyberspace officers, or cyber defense operators]. So, if any Marines out there have skills in this area, regardless of your current [military occupation specialties], we’d love to add you to the team.”

As a Reserve unit, 6th COMM Bn is split geographically, while Alpha Company is in Concord, California, Bravo Company is on the other side of the country in Ayer, Massachusetts. This proves that 6th COMM Bn can operate in a distributed environment and still accomplish their mission.

6th COMM Bn’s win streak continues even though under half their team has not been formally trained through the Marine Corps’ defensive cyber school. This is a result from when the Reserve Component stood up the cyber companies, they pulled many Reserve Marines from other MOSs that had a cyber background.

Staff Sgt. David “Ryne” Osborne, formerly an artillery gun chief, was one such Marine. He thought his time in the Reserve force was coming to an end because of limited open billets for artillery career progression. He was then reached out to because of his cyber background in his civilian career and was given the opportunity to stay a Reserve Marine and lateral transfer to cyber.

When asked about next year’s games, Osborne replied, “I am extremely excited for next year’s competition. We, as Reserve Marines, have consistently proven that we are executing at par and often above our active-duty counterparts. Having another opportunity will give us another platform to show that many of the Reserve Marines can execute at an extremely high proficiency while most often, not being MOS 1721 school-trained certified.”

A few members of the winning team have also been involved in Tradewinds 23 a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise designed to strengthen partnerships and interoperability, promote human rights, as well as increase all participants training capacity and to mitigate, plan for and respond to crisis and security threats. This year, Tradewinds was hosted in Georgetown, Guyana.

Nichols, Osborne, and Mackaman from the winning team along with Gunnery Sgt. Danel “Nikki” Beier, a cyber intelligence chief, and Cpl. Mario Huelga, a cyber intelligence analyst, with 6th COMM Bn, provided multiple classes on defensive cyber operations to 26 service members from seven different partner nations. These classes ranged from basic network enumeration and analysis, cyber incident response, vulnerability analysis, threat hunting and cyber threat intelligence.

This was the first time since 1984 that Tradewinds has brought cyber capabilities to the exercise and is also one of the first exercises that 6th COMM Bn has supported an overseas exercise as the Marines annual training.

“It’s a very unique opportunity in training with partner nation forces, especially in cyber,” Nichols said. “With cyber being at the forefront of everyone’s priorities, it gives my Marines the ability to not only spread the knowledge of cyber security, but also cyber threat intelligence (CTI).

“This year was the first iteration of expanding cyber’s scope to include CTI in the course curriculum,“ continued Nichols. “As cyber threats become more prevalent into today’s battlespace, the Marine Corps partners not just with the US sister services, but also partner nations like Guyana to help combat emerging persistent cyber threats.”

By LCpl Sarah Pysher | U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve