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11 16 2016

Agency cyber solutions implemented in Trident Juncture 2016

NATO's 'flagship' exercise, Trident Juncture 2016 (TRJE16), which is supported by the NCI Agency, has been successfully completed.

The execution phase of the event, which included a Communications Exercise and Exercise Control Training, was conducted between 10 October and 2 November across different locations including Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany.

The Agency's Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Support Unit (CSU) Stavanger supported all services locally at the Joint Warfare Centre.

It also provided assistance to the Joint Task Force Headquarters and Initial Command Element from Joint Force Command Naples, the Joint Logistics Support Group, and the Special Operations Component Command of the Initial Command Element.

Both the Joint Warfare Centre's main facility and the former Norwegian Joint Headquarters were used during TRJE16 because of the scale of the exercise and the requirement to support Training Audiences and Exercise Control Training.

CSU Stavanger was responsible for setting up interoperable systems using the Host Nation's infrastructure, which was challenging at first because of the condition of the equipment, as well as compatibility difference.

As with all large exercises, the Agency would not have been able to meet requirements in Stavanger without the close coordination and commitment from external parties.

The CSU was assisted by 25 soldiers from the NATO CIS Group 1st NATO Signal Battalion Deployable Communications Module and five sailors from the US Navy Reserve during the preparation phase of the exercise which involved the set-up of CIS equipment. Military personnel also helped man two Event Support Desks during the execution phase.

Supporting the cyber security training of the exercise proved to be an excellent opportunity for the Agency to show that it is a flexible, diverse and professional team.

Tech Sergeant (TSgt) Justin Bullman, NCI Agency Squadron Cyber Security Technician, took the opportunity to augment an Exercise Control Response Cell, while continuing to support the CSU in his current role.

His expertise and professionalism enabled realistic gameplay and provided tools for metrics not only for TRJE16, but for future events, as well.

TSgt Justin Bullman was highly praised by the Joint Warfare Centre, Exercise Control and senior officers. Wing Commander Smeaton, TRJE16 Opposing Force Cyber Cell Chief: "During his own time, Bullman analyzed the challenge and the tools at hand and developed, doing his own scripting, a website that would track the 'hits' on his phishing e-mail.

The solution was beautifully simple, secure and very effective. This solution also met a training requirement that Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe (SHAPE) Joint Cyber has raised with Allied Command Transformation and had not been met before.

I intend to work with SHAPE Joint Cyber and the NCI Agency to develop Bullman's capability into a core element of the cyber awareness campaign during NATO exercises."

TRJE16 proved to be a very challenging event with planning, co-ordination and CIS pushed to its limits. The exercise highlighted the importance of improving our processes and procedures within the Agency.

Agency cyber solutions implemented in Trident Juncture 2016