SC National Guard assists Beaufort with cybersecurity readiness

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By U.S. Army Spc. Flonasia Neals, S.C. National Guard

U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers with the 125th Cyber Protection Battalion, South Carolina National Guard, work with the city of Beaufort and other regional organizations as they conduct their first ever cybersecurity exercise Wednesday March 24, at the Beaufort Police Department training facility. Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Flonasia Neals, S.C. National Guard.

U.S. Army National Guard soldiers with the 125th Cyber Protection Battalion, South Carolina National Guard, partnering with South Carolina Enforcement Division’s S.C. Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (SC-CIC), assisted the city of Beaufort and other surrounding organizations at the Beaufort Police Department training facility Wednesday, March 24, in the city’s first practical cyber exercise consisting of regional leaders developing a plan to respond to cyber threats and attacks.

Participants in this exercise were instructed to give logical responses to realistic cyber-focused scenarios. The soldiers guided other participants in properly assessing and responding to practical cybersecurity threats and attacks by providing knowledge of tactical support and experiences to help members formulate real life operational contingency plans.

The soldiers who participated in the cybersecurity exercise were led by U.S. Army Lt. Col. William “Mel” Medlin, 125th Cyber Protection Battalion commander.

Key figureheads for the City of Beaufort and Beaufort County were in attendance and participated in scenarios during the daylong event, including officials from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management; Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority; the City of Beaufort and Town of Port Royal police and fire departments; and Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Stephen Murray, Beaufort mayor and S.C. Coast Cyber Center vice chair, explained to participants the importance of communicating among the organizations present to help keep each other and the citizens of Beaufort protected.

The South Carolina National Guard partners with Department of Defense, federal, state, and local governments, and corporate partners to better understand the threats and impacts of a cyber-attack. The South Carolina National Guard uses collaborative training and exercises to build relationships in order to improve cybersecurity practices within the state.