Armed with keyboards and processors, Ohio’s newest security force may one day deploy not to deal with natural disasters, but rather network disasters. Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio’s adjutant general, said that under the direction of Gov. John Kasich, he started the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee to determine what Ohio needs to do to improve cybersecurity and training. Part of those efforts, he said, is to create an Ohio Cyber Reserve Force, a team of civilian information-technology experts that could be activated by the governor, working for the Ohio National Guard, to respond to major cyberattacks against state or local infrastructures. “If there is a major incident within the state then the governor could call them out and put them on state active duty, just like we do with the National Guard,” Bartman said.
Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, who as the Republican nominee for secretary of state has a particular interest in securing Ohio’s election system, has introduced a bill to create what would be a first-in-the-nation cyberreserve.
The regional response teams would assist state, county and local government agencies to help prevent cyberattacks, or respond if one is successful.
“We can call in the cybercavalry when needed,” said LaRose.
Richard Harknett, head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati who has worked with U.S. Cyber Command, said a state Cyber Reserve would improve security by breaking down segmented government agencies and bringing “private-sector talent to bear in public-sector environments.”