The Ohio Adjutant General's Department and the University of Akron hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the university's Ohio Cyber Range site.
The new Ohio Cyber Range is a virtual training ground and testing site aimed at enhancing cybersecurity in Ohio. It joins a site at the University of Cincinnati that opened in May 2018.
"This cyber range for us is a big deal," said Col. Daniel Shank, Ohio assistant adjutant general for Army. "The cyber threat is changing, and we have to change with it. The military understands the threat, and we've actually changed our doctrine. You'll hear something called multidomain operations. We are in a place now in the world where our oceans will not protect us. That buffer that we've been able to utilize for generations no longer exists."
With a change in doctrine often comes a change in budget priorities.
In January, the Adjutant General's Department, UA and the Ohio Department of Higher Education announced a $1.18 million agreement to double the capacity of the Ohio Cyber Range by adding servers, storage and programing at the Akron site.
"This project puts Ohio at the front of the cyber security battles that we have in front of us," said UA President Gary L. Miller. "Cybercrime is expanding globally. Next year we expect it to cost world businesses somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 trillion. Fifty-eight percent of that is on small businesses, and 35% of all cybercrime is against manufacturers."
The range will be used by the Ohio National Guard, schools, governments and businesses to train the cybersecurity workforce, conduct research, test emerging technologies and host cybersecurity exercises and competitions.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 52 on Oct. 25, 2019, to create a volunteer Ohio Cyber Reserve (OhCR) made up of trained civilians. The OhCR will be a part of the state defense force under the command of the adjutant general, and will be an available resource for the governor to utilize when assisting eligible municipalities with cybersecurity vulnerabilities and providing recommendations to reduce cyber threats. The first teams are expected to be created by the end of January 2020.
"We have a capability now with the creation of the Ohio Cyber Reserve," said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. "This is an exciting new endeavor in which we're creating regional teams around the state that will bring together civilian volunteers in military-style units that are ready to be called to action on the governor's order should the worst happen, but also are ready to provide the support necessary to assure that we've got the best defense in place."
The Ohio Cyber Range and Ohio Cyber Reserve are initiatives developed by the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee (OC3), a collaborative effort, led by the Adjutant General's Department, of more than 200 people who represent public, private, military and educational organizations.