Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Congressmen Steve Israel (D-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY) and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) announced today that after their year-long push, New York and New Jersey Army National Guards’ formation of a combined Cyber Protection Team based in Latham, New York has been approved by the National Guard. Latham Armory, the Capital Region’s National Guard Base, located in Albany County would serve as the Unit’s Mission Command center. Additionally, space at the Rome Joint Reserve Intelligence Center will be used to accommodate cyber protection team mission requirements. New Jersey will have a primary CPT station located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
The New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area is one of the top global terrorism targets given its role as the financial hub of the United States. This has prompted the region to develop one of the most sophisticated network of counter-terrorism units not just in the country, but worldwide. Members said the constant threat to New Yorkers is a key reason why the state has taken such a proactive role in recruiting and training personnel to counter these threats. The emergence of cyber-terrorism as a legitimate threat to national and global security has highlighted the necessity for a CPT.
Senators and Congressmen said because of the sophisticated nature of cyber-terrorism, the site of the Cyber Protection Team should be a facility that already has advanced capabilities and resources that could properly serve the team’s needs. The Members pushed for Latham Armory to serve as the mission command location because of the facility’s extensive homeland security and emergency preparedness infrastructure that would translate well to what the cyber unit needs.
In separate letters to the Army National Guard’s Acting Director, Major General Lyons, the senators and congressmen 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. The 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. Schumer and Gillibrand were joined in their bid by New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker. Congressmen Richard Hanna and Steve Israel also sent a separate letter to the Army National Guard.
“It is great news that the National Guard has selected our bid to host the new Cyber Protection Team – it will be a huge shot in the arm for both the Capital District and Mohawk Valley, and will bolster our ability to fight 21st century cyber threats. Upstate New York is a huge winner as the Latham Armory will serve as the team’s mission command and Rome Labs will be a major training site, which means jobs for local residents. I was proud to help fight to bring this team to Upstate NY, as it will mean these facilities can continue as job-creators and economic engines for both Central NY and the Capital Region for years to come,” said Senator Schumer.
This announcement recognizes the critical and unique role New York’s National Guard will 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, this team can provide the military with private sector expertise and enhance the capacity that it needs to respond to new cyber threats. The NY and NJ National Guard together have helped our citizens during disasters like Hurricane Sandy and now they will be invaluable in responding to constant cyber threats our states and country face.”
The addition of the Cyber Protection Team would add to the Army National Guard’s strength as they already play a critical role in responding during catastrophic events in New York and New Jersey.
“I applaud General Grass for selecting New Jersey’s highly capable, proven National Guard to become a member of the NY-NJ Cyber Protection Team,” said Senator Menendez. “We understand all too well that our region has long been a target for our adversaries around the world and our citizen soldiers are uniquely positioned – with private-sector experience, training and capacity – to respond to the ever-growing threats to our cyber financial networks.”
“Today’s news is a testament to the unique capabilities New Jersey’s National Guard and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst provide to the region and nation, which is why I stood with my colleagues in strong support of this important initiative,” said Senator Booker. “Having played a critical role in protecting our region during catastrophic events like Superstorm Sandy, I know the NY and NJ National Guard is prepared to defend us from the increasing cyber threats facing our nation today.”
“Today’s announcement marks the culmination of a strong bipartisan effort on the part of New York’s congressional delegation. It is tremendous news for our state as well as upstate New York’s defense installations,” Representative Hanna said. “Rome Lab leads the country in cutting edge cyber research, and the placement of this Cyber Protection Team in New York will offer new and exciting opportunities for Rome Lab to partner with Guard personnel in defense of our state and national cyber infrastructure.”
“I’m excited to announce that after working together for over a year the National Guard has finally approved a new Cyber Protection Team in New York,” said Representative Israel. “Given our geographical significance, vast cyber infrastructure, and numerous educational institutions, New York is ready to lead the way in combating and responding to cyber-attacks. Establishing a Cyber Protection Team in New York is not only an economic benefit for New York, but the national security of our country.”
“This administration is committed to ensuring law enforcement and counter-terrorism officials have the resources they need to be effective, and we continue to remain vigilant in order to keep people safe,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo. “New York continues to be a high-profile target, and this team will significantly increase our ongoing cyber security and counter-terrorism activities. I thank Senator Gillibrand for her hard work to secure the future of the Cyber Protection Team in New York.”
“This announcement is a credit to the uniquely qualified citizen Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard,” said Major General Patrick A. Murphy, The Adjutant General of the State of New York. “Many of our Soldiers possess advanced information technology skills, honed in private industry which will benefit the U.S Army and the State of New York. These cyber professionals are ready to put those skills to work protecting our State at the call of Governor Cuomo.”
Senator Gillibrand introduced the Cyber Warrior Bill along with seven other senators, and Congressman Israel and Hanna introduced the Cyber Warrior Bill in the House, 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 was included in the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act urging the Department of Defense (DoD) to consider the role of the reserve component in cyber defense.
A copy of Schumer and Gillibrand’s original letter to General Frank J. Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau appears below:
General Frank J. Grass
Chief, National Guard Bureau
111 South George Mason Drive
Arlington, VA 22204
Dear General Grass,
We are writing to reinforce our support for the combined New York and New Jersey Army National Guard bid to become a multi-state Cyber Protection Team (CPT). National and international cyber threats are growing in severity and frequency, and the Army National Guard has a unique and critical role to play in both responding to these threats and securing the nation’s cyber networks.
The New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area has long been a primary target of our adversaries around the world. Cyber is an integral part of our economy and national security, and 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 the 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.
Our two National Guard organizations have positioned themselves well for success in combating these threats, by leveraging the dual-nature of today’s citizen soldiers to take advantage of the booming information technology sector corporations in New York and New Jersey. They are fully capable of filling the team’s challenging personnel requirements, have access to existing secure infrastructure, and can leverage their extensive experience collaborating on homeland security operations and emergency preparedness training to quickly build a successful team. Further strengthening their capabilities are the relationships both New York and New Jersey Army National Guard have developed with Federal, State, and local partners. We are confident that New York and New Jersey are prepared to excellently recruit, build, train and sustain a joint CPT.
Accordingly, we would request you strongly consider the New York and New Jersey Army National Guard Cyber Protection Team’s application which will allow them to immediately begin preparations to activate a team. These organizations demonstrated their importance to the citizens of both of our states during catastrophic events such as Hurricane Sandy, as well as to our country with their service overseas. It is critical that they be allowed to continue their exemplary service in the cyber realm in the bi-state area where this relentless threat will only grow more costly.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
United States Senator
A copy of Israel, Hanna, Tonko and King’s original letter to Major General Judd H. Lyons appears below:
Major General Judd H. Lyons
Acting Director, Army National Guard
111 S. George Mason Drive
Arlington, VA 22204
Dear Major General Lyons:
We would like to express our strong support for the New York and New Jersey National Guard Adjutant Generals’ multi-state Cyber Protection Team nomination. As you are aware, we have been active advocates for the Guard to serve a role in the cyber mission to which it is uniquely suited. We commend the National Guard Bureau on these initial actions and recognize that the cyber threats faced by the New York-New Jersey region and its residents are very real and diverse. As such, we urge you to activate a Cyber Protection Team in New York/New Jersey to meet those threats as soon as possible.
The New York and New Jersey National Guard forces have a proven track record of combined response to both manmade and natural incidents impacting one of the nation’s most at-risk regions. Since September 11, 2001, both states’ military forces have trained in consort across a variety of scenarios. Their Army National Guard formations proved ready and willing to synchronize operations and share critical information in support of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.
In response to these threats, additional critical infrastructure protections have already been put in place. Since 2011, each has contributed forces to the National Guard Homeland Response Force, aligned with FEMA Region II, conducting numerous large-scale exercises designed to test response capabilities and improve the region’s catastrophic emergency preparedness capacity. The addition of an Army National Guard Cyber Protection Team is essential to ensuring those capabilities are appropriately robust to address the challenges facing this region.
The extensive cyber infrastructure, knowledge and abilities in the New York and New Jersey National Guard are unparalleled, allowing for the activation of a Cyber Protection Team in Fiscal Year 2016. New York’s element will operate from the sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs) at the State Headquarters and Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate in Rome (Rome Lab), in close proximity to several premier Cyber Centers of Excellence. Both states’ elements will also have access to the Northeast Army Reserve Intelligence Support Center’s SCIF on Fort Dix. The large number of qualified communications soldiers resident in both states, many with significant civilian information assurance backgrounds, will further expedite the team’s activation and full operational capability.
We appreciate your need to consider the many Cyber Protection Team nominations being submitted in order to most effectively respond to the nature of this threat. We strongly support the New York and New Jersey multi-state Cyber Protection Team nomination and urge you to prioritize consideration of this submission to establish a collaborative and effective capability that will help safeguard this region’s critical infrastructure and the millions of American that depend on it every day.