Eleven members of the Nebraska Army National Guard's new modern-warfare cyber protection team were saluted Tuesday at a send-off ceremony prior to their deployment at Fort Meade, Maryland, near the nation's capital.
Eight additional Army National Guard soldiers from Missouri and Arkansas, who are members of the unit, will join them for what is expected to be a year's deployment at the base between Washington and Baltimore that is a center for information, intelligence and cyber operations.
"Sir, we're ready," Maj. Greg Veys of Lincoln told Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, adjutant general of the Nebraska National Guard, at the send-off ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.
Members of the new unit, which was formed two years ago, will perform their mission by helping identify and counter any cyber threats largely through computer-based knowledge and skills.
Most members of the team work at civilian jobs, although Veys is a full-time member of the Guard.
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"Our adversaries are using cyber against us," Gov. Pete Ricketts said. "We know we are constantly under attack.
"The world is a dangerous place," he said, in saluting "those who volunteer to protect our nation" as do members of the National Guard.
As governor, Ricketts is commander-in-chief of the Nebraska National Guard.
Many members of the newly created 179th Cyber Protection Team "sacrifice high-dollar opportunities in the private sector" to serve in the Guard, Bohac said.
"Families are the heroes as well," the general said, noting that this departure comes with the approach of the Christmas holiday.
Following the ceremony, which took place in front of a giant and yet-to-be-decorated new Christmas tree installed in the Rotunda on Monday, Veys said team members are "prepared to be gone for a while."
While they are reluctant to be away from their families, he said, "they all look forward to the experience of working with their active duty counterparts" in the U.S. Cyber Command.
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