SimulationDeck powers the Information Environment and Interagency at Cyber Yankee 2019

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The goal of Cyber Yankee 2019 (CY19) was to create a realistic cyber exercise for Army National Guard Defensive Cyberspace Operations Elements (DCOE) and other Army and Air National Guard Cyber Defenders to further train and apply their skills during a natural disaster simulated by a Category-5 hurricane.

SimulationDeck was included in Metova’s PCTE Grey Space cyber range environment and made accessible outside the firewall through a tunnel into the internet. This provided universal access and a common operating picture to all participants, controllers and observers during the exercise. FEMA, State Joint Force Headquarters, local authorities and private industry were provided with real-time media and social media, open source intelligence and other forms of critical information that enabled timely and realistic cross-agency information sharing, collaboration and decision-making.

  • The Challenge

    The goal of Cyber Yankee 2019 (CY19) was to create a realistic cyber exercise for Army National Guard Defensive Cyberspace Operations Elements (DCOE) and other Army and Air National Guard Cyber Defenders to further train and apply their skills in a simulated Category-5 hurricane. This natural disaster was compounded by cyber-attacks against state and local governments as well as utilities and private industry throughout the Northeast. This exercise incorporated DCOE Teams and Cyber Defenders from the six New England states, Alabama, New York, and FEMA Region 1.

    Leveraging the US Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI) Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE) Gray Space, powered by Metova Federal and SimulationDeck, the New Hampshire National Guard was able to provide a cyber range with the scalable environment expected in a large hurricane scenario. This exercise was a proof-of concept with the integration of media and social media simulation into a cyber exercise for injecting attack vectors, online scams, mis-information, rumors, and publicly-available information for open-source intelligence to derive a common operating picture for stakeholders at the local, state and federal level.

  • The Approach

    SimulationDeck was included in Metova’s PCTE Grey Space cyber range environment and made accessible outside the firewall through a tunnel into the internet. This provided universal access and a common operating picture to all participants, controllers and observers during the exercise. FEMA, State Joint Force Headquarters, local authorities and private industry were provided with real-time media and social media, open source intelligence and other forms of critical information that enabled timely and realistic cross-agency information sharing, collaboration and decision-making.

    Red Team members were able to post social media with hyperlinked malware, created a venue for a misinformation, promote online scams and spread rumors and falsehoods during the hurricane scenario. The use of a publicly available information simulation during the exercise laid the groundwork for joint coordination, an interagency investigation, and the resultant arrest of an insider threat from the Red Team. SimulationDeck provided the foundational platform that allowed for the realistic conduct of this federally supported, state managed and locally executed operation.

“SimulationDeck will be my first choice for a simulated information environment”.

  • The Results

    Cyber Yankee 19 featured the first use of the PCTE in a large-scale, multi-state cyber exercise due to the availability of the PCTE Gray Space enterprise solution, in conjunction with the 91st Cyber Operations Brigade’s ShadowNet. The PCTE range provided a very challenging and realistic exercise for the defense of critical infrastructure against multiple cyber-attacks. The exercise allowed senior interagency policymakers and leaders from US CYBERCOM, FEMA, DHS, and state government stakeholders to refine tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) develop multi-echelon interagency processes, form functional law enforcement, intelligence, and operations intra-governmental teams, and develop partnerships across multiple levels of governments and private industry.

    The inclusion of timely, accurate and evolving social media added realism, volatility, complexity and uncertainty that naturally occurs in today’s information environment. The imaginative, rich and comprehensive information environment portrayed in the simulation was vital to the identification of potential policy, resource and personnel requirements necessary to the successful analysis and use of publicly available information in a domestic situation.

“The PCTE and SimulationDeck provided the best content I have ever seen in an exercise!”

– Lt. Col. Woody Groton, exercise director and Chief Information Officer, NH National Guard.

“SimulationDeck will be my first choice for a simulated information environment”.

– CY19 RedTeam SNCOICT

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