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 for these units, as well as operational command and control when needed. The brigade is a strategic asset to U.S. Cyber Command and Army Cyber Command.
 
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 their continuous federal missions.
 
Despite restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the 91st Cyber Brigade successfully adjusted to a “new normal” and accomplished several major objectives throughout 2020.
 
The 91st Cyber Brigade mobilized nearly 200 cyber warriors in support of three federal mobilizations while simultaneously conducting state active duty support in spring and summer 2020. As the cyber landscape changed, the 91st Cyber Brigade successfully helped close out and render one “mission complete” leaving the brigade to focus on the remaining two federal missions. 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. In the same year the 91st Cyber Brigade mobilized a battalion, they simultaneously brought a second Virginia battalion home or demobilized them. Notably, the 124th Cyber Protection Battalion blazed the trail for the MOSQ (military occupational skills qualifications) constructive credit with the Cyber Center of Excellence. Some of the Soldiers from their mobilization will receive MOSQ constructive credit, depending on the work role assigned, saving the Department of Defense an inordinate amount of money but also keeping Guardsmen home with their families and in their communities rather than attending training for a skill that they have already demonstrated proficiency. Subsequent battalions will benefit from this work as well.
 
To support increasing state requests for assistance, the 91st Cyber Brigade provided cyber training and certification to members of the Virginia Defense Force. With the help of the VDF, the 91st Cyber Brigade is positioned to meet the growing demand for cyber support in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
 
During 2020, the 91st Cyber Brigade led and supported Cyber Shield 2020, the National Guard’s premier, multi-component and branch exercise focusing on the protection of DOD Information Networks. Cyber Shield is the primary collective exercise for the NG Defensive Cyberspace Operations Elements. The Brigade’s cyber range provided the platform to conduct the exercise remotely across the nation from over 600 dispersed locations due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Cyber Shield 2020 would have been canceled without the capabilities and capacity that Shadow Net and the Brigade’s S6 section brought to the exercise.  
 
Shadow Net, again a Brigade cyber range – built by Guardsmen, for Guardsmen, was also used by the Army Reserve (COMPO 3) in order to validate their Cyber Protection Teams when the CYBERCOM Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE) was not able to accommodate the virtual conduct of their FOC requirement.
 
Despite the pandemic, Cyber Protection Team (CPT) 172 achieved FOC (fully operational capable) and CPT 171 achieved IOC (initial operational capable). Furthermore, they prepared four CPTs for FOC validation for the follow-on year. The brigade worked with ARCYBER to adjust the validation model for both COMPO 2 and COMPO 3 in order to align with the Brigade’s SRM (Sustained Readiness Model).

The Brigade also stood up a fifth battalion, the 127th Cyber Protection Battalion, headquartered out of Indianapolis, Indiana.
 
The 91st Cyber Brigade has three lines of effort. Those LOEs are successful federal mobilizations, achieving IOC/FOC to the joint standard, and establishing TRO with the implementation of efficient and sustainable processes. The brigade’s center of gravity for growth and success is Shadow Warriors or the members of the brigade. Efforts to acquire Cyber Incentive Pay are underway in order to retain these valued resources, our citizen Soldiers.
 
The 91st Cyber Brigade is also working towards these LOEs by partnering with academia (George Mason University) and industry (Dominion Energy) to develop training relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Visit the 91st Cyber Brigade on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/91stCyberBrigade/

91st Cyber Brigade News

1st Lt. Edward Olbrych, a cyber security support platoon leader with the Virginia National Guard's 134th Cyber Security Company, 124th Cyber Protection Battalion, 91st Cyber Brigade, poses for a photo following his completion of the U.S. Army Ranger School in July 2021 at Fort Benning, Georgia. 
Olbrych mobilized with the 91st Cyber Brigade for the Task Force Echo mission and served as one of the lead Cyber subject matter experts on the team before completing the two-month long Ranger course and earning the right to wear the Ranger tab on his uniforms.
91st Cyber Brigade Soldiers earn Ranger tab
Aug. 31, 2021
Two Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Bowling Green-based 91st Cyber Brigade recently proved cyber Soldiers’ worth beyond the keyboard by completing the U.S. Army Ranger School and earning the right to wear the Ranger tab on their uniforms.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Fairfax-based 91st Cyber Brigade participate in Cyber Shield 21, the Defat of Defense’s largest unclassified cyber defense exercise, July 15, 2021, in Fairfax, Virginia. During the exercise, VNG cyber Soldiers ran a help desk and helped conduct validations for several Cyber Protection Teams.
91st Cyber Brigade participates in Cyber Shield 21
Aug. 11, 2021
Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Fairfax-based 91st Cyber Brigade participated in Cyber Shield 21, the Department of Defense’s largest unclassified cyber defense exercise, July 10-23, 2021.

Once open transgender service was authorized in the military, Maj. Keilyn DiStefano said she was among the first transgender Soldiers to receive a memo authorizing her to comport to the standards of her affirmed gender.
Signal officer shares journey of transition, acceptance
June 16, 2021
When Maj. Keilyn DiStefano started her military career in 1998, it was in a different state, under a different name, with a different gender assignment. Back then, she wasn’t herself.

(L-R) Capt. Vanessa Rodriguez, Maj. Michele Spangler, Lt. Col. Christina Perronie, Capt. Katie Kerr and Capt. Anabel Montano-Vargas, all assigned to the Fairfax-based 124th Cyber Protection Battalion, 91st Cyber Brigade, comprised the first known all-female staff within the Virginia Army National Guard. In the Army, where females make up only 17% of the entire force, it is rare for the primary staff officers of a unit to consist entirely of women.
124th CPB first VNG battalion with all-female staff
March 29, 2021
FORT MEADE, Md. – For Lt. Col. Christina Perronie, Maj. Michele Spangler, Capt. Anabel Montano-Vargas, Capt. Katie Kerr and Capt. Vanessa Rodriguez, 2020 proved exceptionally memorable. These women, all assigned to the Fairfax-based 124th Cyber Protection Battalion, 91st Cyber Brigade, not only mobilized, but also comprised the first known all-female staff within the Virginia Army National Guard, as well as Task Force Echo.

Col. Matthew Lennox, commander of the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber), presents service awards to Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to Task Force Echo IV as they prepare to return to their home states. The Soldiers were deployed for more than a year conducting operations in support of U.S. Cyber Command and the Cyber National Mission Force. The more than 150 Soldiers assigned to TFE IV consisted of Soldiers primarily assigned to the 124th Cyber Protection Battalion, who hail from Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Virginia, and Utah.
Army National Guard transitions cyber task force mission
Feb. 8, 2021
The transition of authority between two Army National Guard battalions was a quiet and seamless affair, taking place without the traditional ‘pomp and circumstance’ normally associated with significant Army events. The transition marked the end of a 15-month deployment for the Soldiers of the 124th Cyber Protection Battalion (CPB), who hail from Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Virginia and Utah, and the beginning for the Army National Guardsmen of the 123rd CPB, who call Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia, and Wisconsin their home states.

91st Cyber Brigade Organization

Bowling Green-based 91st Cyber Brigade
https://www.facebook.com/91stCyberBrigade/

Fairfax-based 123rd Cyber Protection Battalion
  • 133rd Cyber Security Company
  • 143rd Cyber Warfare Company
Fairfax-based 124th Cyber Protection Battalion
  • 134th Cyber Security Company
  • 144th Cyber Warfare Company
Columbia, South Carolina-based 125th Cyber Protection Battalion (South Carolina National Guard)

Bedford, Massachusetts-based 126th Cyber Protection Battalion (Massachusetts National Guard)

Indianapolis, Indiana-based 127th Cyber Protection Battalion (Indiana National Guard)

Fairfax-based Information Operations Support Center