By Sgt. Brad MinceyOctober 24, 2017
EASTOVER, S.C. -- The South Carolina National Guard activated its first unit dedicated to protecting S.C. and the U.S. from cyber attacks. The 125th Cyber Protection Battalion held its Activation and Assumption of Command Ceremony Oct. 21, 2017, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base.
"This is an amazing time for us," said Lt. Col. Linda Riedel, commander of the 125th Cyber Bn. "We have reached a monumental point in the South Carolina National Guard with the activation of the 125th Cyber Protection Battalion."
The South Carolina National Guard was initially looking for a cyber protection team, to help push back against cyber attacks. Leadership was pleased to find that they were going to be getting, not a cyber protection team, but a cyber protection battalion. For nearly five years, the S.C. Guard has worked towards this goal and is finally seeing it come to fruition.
"This is the fulfillment of a vision," said Maj, Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., and the Adjutant General for South Carolina.
"If you don't believe that you can visualize something and it eventually occurs, then look at the 125th Cyber Protection Battalion," he said. "We went from really involving our neighbors, inter-agencies and industry on that protection side and creating awareness throughout our state to all of a sudden we have to put a battalion together."
Modern technology has advanced for the U.S. and its allies allowing military units to communicate more effectively and perform its mission while saving Soldier lives.
"As I was thinking about where we are now versus where we were a few months ago, we are building, breaking and reestablishing all at the same time," said Riedel. "South Carolina has been tasked with a challenging mission that will span far into the distant future. The worlds in which we live and the liberties in which we defend depend on each and every one of us. Technology in no longer just a tool but a way of life. As we become more dependent on technology, our vulnerabilities grow. I am confident that all present and future Soldiers in this battalion will take our nation state and military to new heights on and off the battlefield."
Enemies of the U.S. have also advanced with hopes of disruption of communication and disseminating misinformation.
"In the future, this is how we are going to deal with future wars," said Livingston. "We are always under attack by external sources everyday. We are always observing and always responding to attacks everyday."
"People who we think of as unsophisticated are actually quite sophisticated," added Livingston. "There is a lot that goes on in the cyber world to create misinformation or to disrupt our ability to communicate with each other and to convey information or acquire information. That can be a fleeting superiority, it is going to be up to these guys to keep up that superiority."