The critical infrastructure of the United States, and that of our allies, is increasingly at risk of cyber-attack by nation-states and international criminal organizations. Cybersecurity threats to critical infrastructure present the most strategic risks to national security, financial institutions and economic prosperity, transportation, and public health and safety.
To readily identify a potential cybersecurity attack, the United States partners with our NATO allies in an annual exercise that enables cyber security and IT experts to enhance their skills in defending IT systems and critical infrastructure under real-time attacks.
Locked Shields is an annual exercise organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) and is considered the most intensive test of cyber defense skills integrated into an operational and strategic environment that sets a robust, highly skilled CCDCOE Red Team cyberattack against 24 cyber-defense joint Blue Teams. (See: Locked Shields 2022 – YouTube).
CCDCOE has selected the Defense Information Systems Agency to lead the U.S. team for the third consecutive year. In this role, DISA will facilitate the U.S. Blue team, provide training, guidance and leadership throughout the planning process and execution of the exercise. DISA’s involvement in the exercise aligns with the agency’s support of the National Defense Strategy to help defend the homeland and deter strategic attacks against the United States, our allies and partners.
This year’s exercise will take place April 17-21. The U.S. team will operate out of the Morgantown Armory in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Fred Ruonavar, DISA Mission Assurance chief, heads up the U.S. team that will consist of 120 members from six universities, five National Guard units, the U.S. Cyber Command, Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, U.S. European Command and the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Participating in Locked Shields 2023 is an excellent opportunity for IT and cyber professionals to hone their skills, said Ruonavar.