February 12, 2016

National Guard forms cyber security unit (AUDIO)

Missouri’s oldest operating military base is getting even more high-tech. The National Guard’s cyber threat resonse team is setting up operations in a building that goes back to the days of soldiers on horses. Missouri’s National Guard is the first of the 50 state guards to fully staff its special unit defending against attacks on state and federal strategic computer networks. The 26-member unit will use a building at Jefferson Barracks that was originally built for the cavalry in 1898. Jefferson Barracks is the oldest military base west of the Mississippi.

Guard spokesman Bill Phelan says the unit will respond to explosive attacks on state and national mainframes and would also respond to a cyber threat from someone trying to tap into the nation’s defense system computers.

The cyber security unit will be in the same building as the Guard’s new military intelligence training unit that was announced last month.

Phelan says the new unit is not for newcomers; it’s made up of officers and senior non-commissioned officers who have highly-technical military specialties. The commander of the National Guard’s Computer Network Defense Team, for example, also is the head of information security for Monsanto.

AUDIO: Phelan interview (4:37)