NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the world advances technologically, the Tennessee National Guard’s 175th Cyber Protection Team continues to modernize and enhance its skills to protect Tennesseans from cyber threats.
Nashville’s 175th CPT is a team of cybersecurity specialists who protect and defend networks from potential adversary cyber-attacks such as malware, phishing and ransomware.
“Military units or even partner agencies could call our cyber protection team to come in and figure out what happened, how it happened and provide ways to protect their network from being hacked,” said 1st Lt. Curtis Crossman, 175th commander.
In order to maintain proficient in combating the newest forms of attack, this specialized team routinely practices and participates in training exercises focused on enhancing networks and scanning for potential attack points.
“When you think cyber warfare, you think attacks that are coming in and attacks that are going out,” said Crossman. “Cyber teams are generally a protection or assertion team, meaning that you can be either a defender or attacker. In Tennessee, we are a protection team and mainly deal with hardening an environment.”
The 175th just completed the annual National Guard cybersecurity exercise, Cyber Shield 2020, which brought together more than 540 Army and Air National Guard members across the country, as well as local, state and federal government agencies. This exercise provided high tempo training with partner agencies while challenging their abilities as a protection team.
“It was a fantastic event that really challenged my team and helped them hone their skills,” said Crossman.
Cyber Shield 2020 challenged the team’s ability to identify and block threats imposed by the attacking teams. These threats constantly evolve and require Soldiers and Airmen to work and learn from one another to stay current in today’s changing environment. To keep proficient, the 175th is partnering with Knoxville’s 119th Cyber Team with the Tennessee Air National Guard.
“We’re collaborating with the 119th because they are a veteran unit well versed on cyber issues,” said Crossman. “We will share knowledge and techniques that will improve both of our teams. Working with members outside our team keeps us sharp and this is a perfect partnership to get ready for potential threats.”
The goal is to improve collaboration between all branches of the military as well as partner with various state agencies to create a more effective and adaptable cyber unit for the state of Tennessee.