VDF serves as technical lead for ongoing cyber assessment mission

A team of cyber experts from the Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Defense Force conduct another in a series of cyber assessments. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — Cyber security experts from the Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Defense Force continued their weeklong vulnerability assessments Dec. 13-16, 2016, and for the first time a member of the VDF served as the technical lead for the mission. The first assessment was conducted in March 2016 after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe authorized funds to put Virginia Guard personnel on state active duty to conduct a series of assessments aimed at improving network security in the state, and this was the seventh conducted since March.

“This most recent mission went very well, and we were able conduct our full menu of services which provided value to the locality,” said Capt. Michael A. Kane, officer in charge of the assessment program. “The locality staff was very appreciative of our work ethic and the thorough nature of our assessment. They were aware of some of our findings and worked towards remediating the findings as time permitted them. In our experience, the cyber missions provide the locality with the third party validation needed to acquire resources from the local government.”

Kane explained that during this mission, 1st Lt. (Va.) David Rothrock of the VDF filled technical lead, bringing more than 20 years of information technology experience to the assessment. The VDF is also looking to recruit more Virginians with IT experience to join and potentially be part of future cyber defense missions.

“With this being his fourth mission, he was well versed in the mission process and his civilian background provides the assessment team and the locality with a resource that is highly sought after,” Kane said. At the end of the week, the locality’s IT director expressed great appreciation for the work the team accomplished.

“Cyber security is a key priority for the governor, and these assessments provide an opportunity for our personnel to bring their considerable skills and experience to the table to provide unique and much-needed assessments to localities in the state,” explained Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia after the fourth round of assessments were complete earlier this year. “Adding VDF personnel expands our capabilities and helps us meet the demands for this successful program. It also helps in growing the joint operations mindset because we don’t operate just as an Army or Air Force organization but as a joint team with other services as well as state agencies and community partners.”