TOPEKA, KS (WIBW) – A handful of Kansas National Guardsmen joined their Armenian counterparts for a national cyber training exercise that marked the two decades of the partnership.

The Kansas National Guard announced that guardsmen recently completed Cyber Shield 2023 – the nation’s premier unclassified cyber training exercise – between June 2 and 16 at the Army National Guard Professional Education Center, Camp Joseph T. Robinson Maneuver Training Center, in North Little Rock, Ark.

The National Guard noted that the exercise included more than 800 soldiers, airmen, sailors, civilian experts and other military services from across the globe. Interagency partners from all levels of government and cyber leaders – ranging from high-tech corporations to local utilities – were also in attendance.

According to the Guard, the focus of the exercise was on the National Guard’s role in responses to attacks on critical infrastructure including U.S. transportation systems. The mission was to develop, train and exercise cyber forces in computer network internal defensive measures and cyber incident response.

Officials indicated that the capabilities learned included teams’ abilities to coordinate, train and aid federal, state and industry network owners threatened by cyberattacks. The exercise was conducted at the unclassified level to allow for more participants.

The Guard said 2023 marked a significant milestone as members from five state partnership programs joined forces with National Guard Cyber Teams for the first time during the exercise. The effort coupled Kansas with Armenia, Illinois with Poland, Iowa with Kosovo and North Carolina with Moldova.

“The Kansas Defensive Cyberspace Operations Element team was thrilled to partner with our Armenian partners for the Cyber Shield 2023 exercise,” said Capt. Matthew Sevcik, team lead. “Discussing tactics and techniques in the realm of cyber with our Armenian counterparts helps inform our team’s capabilities and strengthen the partnership.”

Officials noted that Kansas’ partnership with Armenia began through the State Partnership Program in June 2003. This year marks the 20th anniversary of that relationship.

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