Cyber Protection Team will support the military’s cyber defense efforts and help defend the region’s networks from cyberattacks

Senators led a letter with the Minnesota federal delegation urging the Army to select Minnesota as a host site for a Cyber Protection Team

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken announced Minnesota has been selected as one of seven states to receive a National Guard Cyber Security Protection Team. The Cyber Protection Team will support the military’s cyber defense efforts and help defend the region’s infrastructure and networks from cyberattacks. The senators led efforts, including a delegation letter urging the Army to select Minnesota as a host site for a Cyber Protection Team.

“At a time when international cyber threats are growing in severity and frequency, the Minnesota National Guard has positioned itself on the cutting edge of defensive cyber operations,” Klobuchar said. “Hosting a Cyber Protection Team will further these critical efforts and allow the Minnesota National Guard to serve as a national leader in the fight against cyber terrorism.”

“In recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of cyber threats against our country, and it’s critical that we take action to protect our networks from attacks,” Franken said. “This new designation will give the Minnesota National Guard the tools it needs to help defend our state—and the entire region—against the growing threat of cyber warfare and cyber terrorism.”

Full text of the senators’ letter with the other members of Minnesota’s federal delegation is available below:

Dear Major General Lyons:

We write in strong support of the Minnesota Army National Guard’s proposal for a Cyber Protection Team (CPT). We understand that you will soon be deciding on sites to host ten Army National Guard CPTs over the next three years. We strongly believe that Minnesota offers significant advantages as a host for a CPT due to our Army National Guard’s proactive planning for and experience in cyber operations and our state’s unique industrial and academic resources.

The Minnesota Army National Guard has already taken significant steps to develop its capabilities and experience in defensive cyber operations. It has already established and trained a Computer Network Defense Team to defend its cyber network and can assist civil authorities in the event that an essential system is interrupted or degraded due to a cyberattack. In the past two years the Minnesota Army National Guard has trained and conducted cyber related exercises and engagements with Minnesota Information Technology (MNIT) and the national law enforcement-private sector partnership group InfraGard, as well as Minnesota’s State Partnership Country, Croatia. Minnesota’s Army Guard members at the Joint Reserve Intelligence Center in Minneapolis have also provided cyber intelligence analysis support to U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command.

Minnesota is also home to major corporations and academic institutions, which provide strong bases of support for recruiting talented professionals into the Army National Guard and for developing unique partnerships with the private sector and academia to strengthen cyber defenses. Several Minnesota Army National Guard officers work as IT professionals for Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state and are employing highly technical skills acquired in the civilian workforce to their military positions. Six Minnesota academic institutions have been recognized by the Defense Department as Centers of Excellence for educating students in the field of Information Assurance. Minnesota is widely recognized as a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic (STEM) education, providing a solid base for recruitment, retention, and continuing education of servicemembers involved in cyber defense.

We hope you will carefully consider these factors as you determine the location of Army National Guard CPTs. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.