Monday, October 2, 2023

The 170th Cyber Protection Team

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia National Guard.


The 170th Cyber Protection Team at Fort Gillem, Ga. August 5, 2018. Photo by Maj. William Carraway. Inset: Shoulder-sleeve
insignia of the 91st Cyber Brigade.

In 2015, the Georgia National Guard was selected to host one of the first three cyber protection teams established in the National Guard. Selected from among nomination packets from 45 states, the Georgia National Guard activated the 170th in the fall of 2015. The California National Guard also fielded a CPT In 2015 while Michigan, Indiana and Ohio contributed personnel to form the third CPT. On October 2, 2016, the 170th CPT was federally recognized. By the end of 2017, ten CPTs had been established to combat emerging cyber threats.


Major Michael G. Mallon, commander of the 170th CPT briefs Brig. Gen. John T. Gentry during a capability briefing at Forest Park Ga., January 11, 2020.
Photo by Sgt. 1st Class R.J. Lannom Jr.

The mission of the 170th Cyber Protection Team is to conduct defensive cyberspace operations on military networks to support mission requirements ad identified by Department of Defense or state leadership. Cyber protection teams are staffed by Army National Guard Soldiers who train and operate on a traditional part-time basis; however, the CPT can be mobilized for federal service in the event that additional assets are required by Army Cyber Command. The governor of Georgia can also call upon CPT expertise to provide cyber protection on government networks.  


Sergeant Morgan Chafin, an intelligence analyst assigned
to the 170th CPT monitors cyber activity during exercise
Cyber Dawg 21 Sept. 14, 2021, at the Georgia Cyber Center
in Augusta, Georgia. Photo by Capt. Bryant Wine.
In December 2016, the unit received its first mobilization. The following year, the 170th was mobilized in support of the three primary missions of the DOD’s cyber strategy:  defending DoD networks, systems, and information; defending the U.S. homeland and U.S. national interests against cyberattacks of significant consequence; and providing cyber support to military operational and contingency plans. Thirty Soldiers of the 170th CPT were mobilized in support of Cyber Command operations from April 2017 to May 2018.


The 170th CPT underwent its first change of command August 5, 2018 as Maj. George Allen relinquished command to Capt. Michael Mallon. In 2023 command passed from Maj. Mallon to Maj. Adam Tolar.

In 2021 the 170th completed exercise Cyber Dawg 21. Also participating in the exercise were cyber experts of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 283rd Communications Squadron, 202nd Engineering Installation Squadron and 224th Joint Communications Support Squadron.


In June 2023 the 170th participated in Cyber Shield 2023. The exercise was held at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas June 2-16, 2023 and drew more than 800 participants representing military, government and civilian leaders from 25 states.

Soldiers of the 170th CPT were among nearly 800 participants at the Cyber Shield Training Exercise June 2-16, 2023 at the Professional Education
Center, Little Rock Ark. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffery Reno.

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