WASHINGTON -- National Guard and Army Reserve units are providing valuable cyber capabilities for both combatant commanders and homeland security, leaders said, to include Guard security for elections.

Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee's Defense subcommittee at its Reserve Components hearing Tuesday were the chief of the National Guard Bureau and chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Reserve forces. They discussed a number of issues, including cybersecurity.

GUARD CYBER EFFORTS

During last year's mid-term elections, the National Guard monitored the cybersecurity of 27 state networks, said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

"This past election year there was a concern about the security of the networks," Lengyel said, so the commanders of U.S. Cyber Command and Northern Command brought all of the state adjutant generals to Colorado Springs for a briefing on the threat.

Cyber units were on state active-duty status during the most recent elections, he said, to ensure integrity of the election process.

Lengyel made it clear that the Guard units were strictly monitoring security of the networks, watching for foreign actors, not taking offensive cyber action.

"Our cyber units continue to protect our networks from malicious cyber attacks," he said.

"We continue to learn how to do this better."

ARMY RESERVE CYBER EFFORTS

"For the past two years, America's Army Reserve has been on a path to seize digital key terrain," said Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey, chief of the Army Reserve and commander of the U.S. Army Reserve Command.

The Army Reserve's Innovation Command in Houston, Texas, is now in direct support of the Army Futures Command, he said, to assess and develop "emerging technology hubs across the country." The Innovation Command capitalizes on extensive civilian-acquired skills, he said.

As it pertains to cyberspace operations, he said the Army Reserve is "on a glide path" to establish cyber protection teams at key locations around the country, such as San Antonio, Texas; the California Bay area; Adelphi, Maryland; Fort Devens, Massachusetts, near Boston; and, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.

The Army Reserve Cyber Operations Group -- with five cyber protection centers and 10 cyber protection teams -- provides direct support to Army Cyber Command, and general support to other government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, he said.

"Army Reserve cyber Soldiers bring unique skills and experience to the force from their civilian occupations, drawn from over 40 corporations, financial institutions and academic centers of excellence," he said.

"The cyber talent within the Army Reserve delivers capability, improves cyber readiness, and increases our network defense capability."

To identify and cultivate cyber talent, the Army Reserve created the National Cyber Private Public Partnership in 2015. This program places Soldiers in critical Army Reserve cyber formations and provides enhanced opportunities to pursue civilian careers in the field, he explained.