U.S. Army Task Force 46, commanded by Maj. Gen. Pablo Estrada, is a national response force supporting civilian responders to manage catastrophic chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents, leads a cyber-attack effects exercise in Buffalo March 8-10, 2022. Exercise Cyber Impact 22 features leaders from 12 Army National Guard and other military units from across the country working subordinate to the 46th Military Police Command (MPC) to build relationships and develop mutually supportive plans and processes with local, state, federal, private sector, academic and Canadian partners.
“We are in the digital age ... as we look at the attacks that are occurring, we are one click away from affecting a power grid or a banking institution, and this is only going to get more prevalent,” said U.S. Army Col. David Hayes, assistant chief of staff, communications, 46th MPC, Michigan National Guard.
The three-day exercise is intended to build unity of effort and familiarity with the effects of a cyber-attack among all partners of Homeland Defense (HD), All-Hazards, Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA)/Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) to prepare for disaster response and consequence management. Participants from the National All-Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC) in Michigan and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will also join in person and virtually from Canada.
NADWC maximizes joint combat readiness by providing an adaptable, cost-effective, and integrated all-domain training environment supported by an expanding Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) architecture. This is all designed to enable the application of combined arms effects in a near peer, contested threat environment.
One high-profile example is last May’s ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline that halted plant operations for days and led to a nationwide fuel crisis, which also significantly increased prices. Scenarios like this will be used to help guide talks, brainstorming sessions and expert panel discussions.
“This is an exercise that will test the nation’s resilience, strengthen preparedness and cooperation among partners, and improve the effectiveness of a joint response in protecting national security,” said Hayes.
Participants in Cyber Impact 2022 will have government and industry leaders from local, state, and federal levels, including those representing police and emergency response units, environmental conservation authorities and power utilities, U.S.-Canadian border security and more.
Mercyhurst University Cybersecurity Professor Christopher Mansour will be among the distinguished panel of presenters from institutions including MIT, the FBI, FEMA, the Army Cyber Institute, Niagara University, Ontario Police Cybercrime Investigation Team, and District 9 of the U.S. Coast Guard, which oversees operations across the five Great Lakes.
“Considering how devastating cyberattacks on critical infrastructure can be, it’s important to test our vulnerabilities so that we can work toward preventing them in the future,” said Mansour, whose presentation will focus on Industrial Control System (ICS) threats.
The three-day exercise will feature the following:
• Day 1 – Academic Presentations, M&T Bank, Buffalo, New York,
• Day 2 – Tabletop Training Exercise, Red Team Maneuvers, KeyBank Center, 1 Seymour H Knox III Plaza, Buffalo
• Day 3 – Communications Exercise at Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York and an area key infrastructure tour (New York Power Authority, US Coast Guard Station)
“Multi-Domain Operational Exercises like this help prevent and prepare not only Task Force 46 but also major metropolitan partners for what might unfortunately be America’s worst day. We owe it to all American people to ensure the military and emergency responders are ready for all hazards,” said U.S. Army Col. Chris McKinney, chief of staff for Task Force 46.
For more information, or to arrange interviews and other media coverage, please RSVP by 5 p.m. on March, 7 2022. by contacting the following:
About Task Force 46.
U.S. Army Task Force 46 is a national response force supporting civilian responders to manage catastrophic chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents. The 46th MPC provides command and control for 12 Army National Guard and other military units from across the country to build relationships and develop mutually supportive plans and processes with local, state, federal, private sector, academic and Canadian partners. For more information, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/46MPCMD