Members of the 102nd Intelligence Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard, recently attended the National Guard Bureau-Home Front Command annual planning conference in Israel. The conference aimed to further develop the bilateral cyber partnership between the two organizations.
The Home Front Command (HFC) is Israel’s domestic response force, working alongside local authorities to protect civilian populations during emergencies. Their mission is to perform search-and-rescue operations worldwide in order to save lives. The Massachusetts Air National Guard (MANG) has been collaborating with HFC since 2017.
The partnership between the National Guard Bureau (NGB) and HFC focuses on four key areas during emergencies: civil support, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear, urban search and rescue, and cyber. The MANG leads the NGB’s cyber efforts.
The 253rd Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group, a part of the MANG, provides various types of cyber support, including network computers, radios, and satellite phones. In collaboration with HFC, they offer cyber support to Israel’s Civil Support Team.
Air Force Lt. Col. Brendan Simison and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ulich of the MANG met with their Israeli counterparts to exchange experiences, knowledge, and best practices in establishing and maintaining communications during major disasters. They specifically discussed HFC’s command and control capabilities with HFC’s cyber representatives.
Israel’s HFC is renowned for its search and rescue missions, responding rapidly to emergencies to protect civilians and save lives. The conference provided a valuable opportunity for the MANG and HFC to learn from each other. They identified areas where the MANG could provide assistance, such as addressing radio shortfalls and sharing training on Joint Incident Site Communications Capability.
The long-term objectives of this partnership include planning joint training for the next two years. The MANG will apply the knowledge gained from the conference to their upcoming exercises, including Cyber Yankee 24. They will also continue to communicate through virtual meetings to maintain the partnership.
This conference was attended by participants from other U.S. military commands, including the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.