In order to further bolster Pennsylvania's cyber defense strategy, nine soldiers from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s Defensive Cyber Operations Element (DCOE) participated in “Amber Mist,” a cyber defense exercise, alongside Lithuanian counterparts. The annual joint training exercise was held in Lithuania, the Pennsylvania National Guard's partner nation.

The exercise began by forming a joint team of cyber defenders comprised of Pennsylvania Army National Guard and Lithuanian Ministry of Defense cyber soldiers. Once the team was assembled, they were provided with a fictitious cyber threat briefing and access to the cyber range. This cyber range simulated a metropolitan area network with multiple organizations requiring the team’s assistance. Each day of the exercise, the team worked to shore up defenses while simultaneously detecting and mitigating the actions of various threat actors.

Exercises and events like these take place as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP), which connects a state’s National Guard with the armed forces of an associated country to build mutually valuable relationships. Pennsylvania has been partners with Lithuania for more than 20 years.

“Working side-by-side with our international allies gives us fresh insights into tools, techniques, and procedures that we can use to help protect our critical technology infrastructure back in the U.S.,” said Maj. Christine Pierce, cyber team chief of the DCOE.