Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan National Guard today unveiled the guard’s inaugural Michigan Cyber Range hub intended to train and prepare participants in detecting, preventing, and thwarting cyber-attacks in a real-world setting.
Snyder attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 110th Airlift Wing in Battle Creek on Tuesday, March 25.
The Michigan Cyber Range, launched in November 2012, allows for “live fire” exercises and simulations that will test their detection and reaction skills in a variety of situations.
The range has sites at Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University and Northern Michigan University. Future hubs are planned at Fort Custer and Camp Grayling later this year.
“We increasingly rely on technology and the Internet in our daily lives and the military is no different,” Snyder said. “As systems become more advanced, so too do the instances and severity of cyber threats. With this and future hubs opening at National Guard bases, our military personnel will be able to train at the highest level with the most sophisticated equipment to best prepare for any real world threats that they may face.”
The Michigan Cyber Range facility at the 110th Air Wing serves as a resource hub and offers partnerships in innovation and collaboration. The training program offers students and Internet technology professionals a full curriculum of meetings and workshops as well as critical cybersecurity training and awareness tools intended to lower cyber vulnerability.
Areas that will benefit from the expansion of the Michigan Cyber Range include infrastructure defense; homeland security; criminal justice and law enforcement, and academic programs and curricula related to information and communications technology.
“Cyber-attacks cost businesses and governments millions of dollars and can cause irreparable damage to reputation and public trust,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard.
“The National Guard is a perfect source for cyber skills because some soldiers and airmen are already computer coders and network technicians in their civilian lives. If all state National Guards had cyber capabilities, then cyber talent could quickly get to critical places in times of crisis. The fact that Michigan is a leader in cyber awareness makes us globally marketable for training and research purposes.”
The Michigan Cyber Range is a component of the state’s Cyber Security Initiative, which pairs extensive cybersecurity resources that meet federal criteria, with hands-on training opportunities to enhance Michigan’s protection of computer systems and sensitive data. The new training facility hub at the 110th Airlift Wing creates a unique opportunity for not only Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen, but also for the Michigan and beyond.
The Guard partnered with Merit Network and others to transform the concepts into operational reality. It is the most extensive unclassified cyber defense network in the world with multiple hubs and classified cyber access nearby.
William J. Adams, vice president of research and cyber security at Merit Network and the Director of the Michigan Cyber Range, is a retired Army colonel who earned a doctorate in computer engineering. He was a network engineer for the Supreme HQ, Allied Powers Europe – an expert in cyber vulnerabilities and ways to strengthen networks.
Stone said the Michigan National Guard can provide a unique training tool, and has the capability to offer private industry solutions, and host global training sessions.
The training center is a public-private partnership between the state of Michigan, Merit Network, federal and local governments, colleges and universities, and the private sector. Merit connects institutions of higher education, K-12 schools, libraries, health care, state and local governments and other nonprofits to its leading-edge network.