Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) along with Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) today announced their support for the New York and New Jersey Army National Guards’ formation of a combined Cyber Protection Team. In a letter to the Army National Guard’s Acting Director, Major General Lyons, the senators urged for swift approval of a proposal allowing the New York and New Jersey Army National Guards to form a joint team focused on addressing the growing cyber security threats in New York and New Jersey. This new team would leverage their existing relationships with the Department of Homeland Security and their extensive training, to focus on combatting increasing cyber security threats to the region’s critical infrastructure and networks. This project would be based in Latham, in Albany County.
“New York’s National Guard has a unique role to play in protecting our cyber networks,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “By vesting this capacity in the National Guard stationed in Latham, this team can provide the military with private sector expertise and the surge capacity that it needs to respond to threats. The New York and New Jersey National Guard together have helped our citizens during disasters like Hurricane Sandy and I know they would be invaluable in handling the constant cyber threats to America’s financial center.”
“The Army National Guard in both New York and New Jersey are tasked with protecting the safety of citizens during catastrophic events, from natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy to cyber breaches and other security risks, and it is critical that the Tri-state region is prepared,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why we are urging Acting Director Major General Lyons to select New York and New Jersey’s joint bid that would allow them to form a combined team of experts to stand at the ready to combat more traditional threats, as well as emerging threats of the 21st Century like cyber-attacks.”
Currently, state Army National Guard units throughout the country are competing to form ten multi-state Cyber Protection Teams as part of the Army’s efforts to build up its cyber capabilities. Senator Gillibrand introduced the Cyber Warrior Bill along with seven other senators in 2013, which called for the creation of a National Guard Cyber and Computer Network Incident Response Team in each state. In response to this legislation language in the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act required the Department of Defense (DoD) to consider the role of the reserve component in cyber defense.
The Army National Guard plays a critical role in responding during catastrophic events in New York and New Jersey, for example, when they were both hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. The addition of a Cyber Protection Team would add to the Army National Guard’s strength as they work to serve New York and New Jersey.
In their letter to the Army National Guard Acting Director, the Senators wrote, “The New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area has long been a primary target of our adversaries around the world. With the cyber world influencing many aspects of our economy and national security, we must be prepared to deter the growing threat to cyber networks in America’s financial hub. Increasing resources and protection in the bi-state area not only decreases financial threat domestically, but also internationally. While both of our states have implemented significant information security measures across a variety of agencies, this Cyber Protection Team would integrate the Army National Guard as a cyber resource capable of responding to threats anywhere in either state.”
The full text of the letter to the Army National Guard Acting Director is attached.