91st Cyber Brigade
The 91st Cyber Brigade was officially activated on Sept. 1, 2017, and is the Army National Guard’s first and only cyber brigade. The brigade consists of five battalions, five cyber security companies, five cyber warfare companies, and 11 cyber protection teams arrayed across more than 30 states. The primary mission of the brigade is to provide training and readiness oversight over these units, as well as operational command and control when needed.
The 91st Cyber Brigade was conceived in November 2016, approved in February 2017, and activated in September 2017, making it one of the fastest implementations of force structure from conception to activation in National Guard history.
Since 2017, the 91st Cyber Brigade has focused on building its assigned strength. Less than 10 months after activation, the brigade grew its assigned strength from 40% to 95%. The 91st Troop Command and the Virginia Data Processing Unit provided the initial manning for both the cyber protection battalions and the cyber brigade headquarters. Now, the brigade focuses on ensuring its soldiers are technically proficient and ready to support the continuous federal missions to which it is assigned.
In 2019, the 91st Cyber Brigade mobilized nearly 200 cyber warriors in support of three federal mobilizations while simultaneously preparing to conduct state active duty support in early 2020. These federal mobilizations support both United States Cyber Command and Army Cyber Command, supporting operations throughout the globe while defending the homeland from overseas cyber threats. The upcoming state active duty missions will provide cyber network assessments to Virginia localities in support of the Department of Technology.
Throughout 2019, the 91st Cyber Brigade participated in multiple exercises providing soldiers valuable training and experience. The brigade provided subject matter experts and participants to support the Grid Security Exercise (GridEx), a national-level energy sector exercise focusing on contingency operations in the face of a large-scale, power-related disaster. The brigade also send multiple soldiers to Cyber Yankee, a New England regional Defensive Cyberspace Operations exercise designed to enable collective training environment with industry. In addition, the 91st sent participants to Cyber Shield, the largest unclassified and premier national cyber defense exercise. Cyber Shield is the validation exercise for the 91st Cyber Brigade’s Cyber Protection Teams and is a whole of government exercise that allows defenders to train on newer technology before they have to defend it in a production network. In an effort to support external cyber elements, the brigade provided technical support to Cyber Fury, a Marine-led joint exercise. While the 91st did not provide exercise participants to Cyber Fury it did supply, operate, and maintain the exercise platform through which exercise scenarios were performed.
The 91st Cyber Brigade has three lines of effort. Those LOEs are provide and retain a ready and motivated cyber force, grow dynamic cyber leaders, and lead the nation in cyber defense/digital lethality. The brigade’s center of gravity for growth and success is talent management. The 91st Cyber Brigade is working towards these LOEs by partnering with academia, George Mason University, and industry, Dominion Energy, to develop training relationships that are mutually beneficial. (Updated Dec. 11, 2019)
Visit the 91st Cyber Brigade on Facebook:
Bowling Green-based 91st Cyber Brigade