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2nd ABCT, 3rd ID, wins Sullivan Cup tank competition at Fort Benning

The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia.
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick Albright) VIEW ORIGINAL[1]
The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia.
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick Albright) VIEW ORIGINAL[2]
The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia.
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick Albright) VIEW ORIGINAL[3]
The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia.
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick Albright) VIEW ORIGINAL[4]
The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia.
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4, 2018 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo Patrick Albright) VIEW ORIGINAL[5]

FORT BENNING, Ga. — The Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army through a series of scored tests, finished May 4 with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, earning the top spot at Fort Benning, Georgia.

After several days of competition, the tank crews performed one final timed event May 4.

Staggered by their points placement on the morning of the last day, the tank crews ran a 1.7-mile route to Brave Rifles Field the morning of May 4. On the field, the crewmembers performed several tank-related physical and mental tasks. Crewmembers also completed five burpees between each station, and there was a five-burpee penalty for incorrect responses and failures on tasks.

After the completion of the final competitive event, tallies were made of the scores from throughout the competition. The top finishers in the Sullivan Cup were:

– 1st place: B Company, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Stewart, Georgia
– 2nd place: C Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas
– 3rd place: 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

Brig. Gen. David A. Lesperance, commandant of the U.S. Army Armor School at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, spoke at the competition’s closing ceremony.

“Never in my wildest imagination would I have guessed that it would have delivered what it did for army today,” said Lesperance. “They truly have identified the best tank crew and tank crews the Army has to offer today.”

The first day of competition included a stress shoot adapted specifically for tank crews and a ranked simulated combat maneuver exercise. On the second two days, the crews conducted a live-fire exercise and a situational training exercise. The scored events were meant to represent both what tank crews trained on and what they could expect in combat.

“What do we expect of a tank crew in our army today?” Lesperance asked rhetorically during the closing ceremony. “We expect that tank crew to be able to survive, maneuver to a point of positional advantage, to get our weapons into the fight and to deliver first-round lethality and have an effect on our target and have our target destroyed.”

Staff Sgt. Johnathan Werner, tank commander, Cpl. Justin Harris, gunner, Pvt. Brandon Zacher, loader, and Pvt. Dekken Sanders, driver, the winning tank crew from 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID, had only worked together for a few months before joining the competition.

“It’s pretty intense for the past roughly three months, but we gave it our all,” said Harris.

Werner described the competition as “fierce.”

“This is stuff that we do on a day-to-day basis — tanker grade gunnery, maneuvering — this is our job,” said Werner. “But when you put everyone in one area, the best of the best you possibly in the entire world, and then you compete and you have a bunch of alpha males, it kind of speaks for itself.”

Werner echoed Lesperance’s belief in the real-life use of the training they received during the competition.

“The way they facilitated the training, just by the book, the way they did the props for the gunnery, the way they did the STX training and the stress shoot, it was a little more realistic for combat engagement,” said Werner. “We should be able to take that back to the units and implement that on a lower level, not necessarily just for competitors. But if we can do this worldwide and have the worldwide training, the way the Army can, it’s what we really need to work toward.”

Both Zacher and Sanders, who have been in the Army for less than a year, found it strange to return to Fort Benning after finishing their basic training here. Sanders described the experience as “surreal.” Zacher appreciated seeing his trainers.

“It’s been pretty great seeing some of our old drill sergeants and shaking their hands,” said Zacher. “They’ve been rooting for us, so it feels great.”

To see photos from the 2018 Sullivan Cup, visit “Photo Album” in the “Related Links” section on this page.

RELATED LINKS

References

  1. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  2. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  3. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  4. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  5. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
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Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
0

Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
0

Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
0

Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
0

Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
0

Indiana awaits Homeland Security election risk assessment review as primaries heat up

INDIANAPOLIS — With the midterm congressional primaries about to go into full swing, the Department of Homeland Security has completed security reviews of election systems in only about half the states that have requested them so far.

The government’s slow pace in conducting the reviews has raised concerns that the nation’s voting systems could be vulnerable to hacking, especially after U.S. intelligence agencies warned that Russia plans to continue meddling in the country’s elections.

Among those still waiting for Homeland Security to conduct a risk assessment is Indiana, one of four states with primaries on Tuesday. Its ballot includes several hotly contested races, including a Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said she is confident state officials have done what they can to safeguard Tuesday’s voting, but acknowledged: “I’ll probably be chewing my fingernails during the entire day on Election Day.”

Like other states, Indiana used a private vendor to conduct a risk assessment and is one of 33 states and 32 local election offices that are receiving remote cyber scanning services from Homeland Security to identify vulnerabilities in their networks.

The concerns aren’t just theoretical.

The nation’s intelligence chiefs warned earlier this year that Russia remains interested in disrupting U.S. elections after a multipronged effort to interfere two years ago. That included attempts to hack into the election systems of 21 states.

Election officials in nine of those states said they were still waiting for a DHS risk assessment, according to a nationwide AP survey.

There is no indication Russian hackers succeeded in manipulating any votes, but U.S. security agencies say they did manage to breach the voter rolls in Illinois. That state and Texas are the only two to hold statewide primaries so far this year, and neither reported any intrusions into their election systems.

But a local election in Tennessee last week highlights the concern: Knox County has hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate why a website that reports election results crashed after the polls closed.

The county’s technology director said some of the unusually heavy traffic came from overseas servers. DHS spokesman Scott McConnell said there is no indication so far that the outage was caused by a “malicious actor.”

Homeland Security designated elections systems critical infrastructure just months after the 2016 presidential election, adding them to a list that includes chemical plants, dams and nuclear reactors.

The department said it has completed risk assessments of election systems in just nine of the 17 states that have formally requested them so far. It has pledged to finish them by November for every state that asks, but the reviews are not likely to be done in time for some state primaries, many of which are in May and June.

The number of states is likely to grow. At least 28 said they want Homeland Security to conduct the risk assessments, according to a 50-state survey of state election officials by The Associated Press.

The security reviews are designed to identify any weaknesses that could be exploited by hackers; such examinations are routinely conducted in the private sector. They are just one tool, although an important one, in ensuring a computer network has a robust defense.

Homeland Security officials attribute the backlog to increased demand for such reviews since the 2016 election and say they are devoting more money and shifting resources to reduce wait times. The reviews typically take two weeks each.

“Elections remain a top priority,” said Matt Masterson, the department’s senior adviser for cybersecurity.

Some states prefer to do the security checks on their own, with some, such as New Hampshire, expressing concern about federal overreach in a country where elections are run by state and local governments.

Cybersecurity experts say that as long as the process is robust, it should not matter who conducts the risk assessments.

“You could do this right in a number of different ways,” said Mike Garcia, lead author of a handbook for state and local election officials released recently by the nonprofit Center for Internet Security. “What matters is that you are doing it right.”

The delays have caught the attention of Congress, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which recommended in March that Homeland Security expand capacity to reduce wait times.

“DHS and the FBI have made great strides, but they must do more,” committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said at the time.

Of the other states holding primaries on Tuesday, the traditional battlegrounds of North Carolina and Ohio said they had received on-site reviews by Homeland Security. Election officials in the fourth state, West Virginia, told the AP they have yet to request a federal risk assessment but plan to do so before the November election. They asked the National Guard to help monitor the state’s election networks on Tuesday.

Other states that told the AP they had received the DHS reviews are Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oregon.

Two of the states targeted in 2016 — Alabama and Oklahoma — have yet to request a DHS security review.

Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill said the state could still decide to make the request before the election.

“We are trying to be as prepared as we can possibly be with our existing partners,” Merrill said. “We want to keep every option open that we have.”

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0

Indiana awaits Homeland Security election risk assessment review as primaries heat up

INDIANAPOLIS — With the midterm congressional primaries about to go into full swing, the Department of Homeland Security has completed security reviews of election systems in only about half the states that have requested them so far.

The government’s slow pace in conducting the reviews has raised concerns that the nation’s voting systems could be vulnerable to hacking, especially after U.S. intelligence agencies warned that Russia plans to continue meddling in the country’s elections.

Among those still waiting for Homeland Security to conduct a risk assessment is Indiana, one of four states with primaries on Tuesday. Its ballot includes several hotly contested races, including a Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said she is confident state officials have done what they can to safeguard Tuesday’s voting, but acknowledged: “I’ll probably be chewing my fingernails during the entire day on Election Day.”

Like other states, Indiana used a private vendor to conduct a risk assessment and is one of 33 states and 32 local election offices that are receiving remote cyber scanning services from Homeland Security to identify vulnerabilities in their networks.

The concerns aren’t just theoretical.

The nation’s intelligence chiefs warned earlier this year that Russia remains interested in disrupting U.S. elections after a multipronged effort to interfere two years ago. That included attempts to hack into the election systems of 21 states.

Election officials in nine of those states said they were still waiting for a DHS risk assessment, according to a nationwide AP survey.

There is no indication Russian hackers succeeded in manipulating any votes, but U.S. security agencies say they did manage to breach the voter rolls in Illinois. That state and Texas are the only two to hold statewide primaries so far this year, and neither reported any intrusions into their election systems.

But a local election in Tennessee last week highlights the concern: Knox County has hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate why a website that reports election results crashed after the polls closed.

The county’s technology director said some of the unusually heavy traffic came from overseas servers. DHS spokesman Scott McConnell said there is no indication so far that the outage was caused by a “malicious actor.”

Homeland Security designated elections systems critical infrastructure just months after the 2016 presidential election, adding them to a list that includes chemical plants, dams and nuclear reactors.

The department said it has completed risk assessments of election systems in just nine of the 17 states that have formally requested them so far. It has pledged to finish them by November for every state that asks, but the reviews are not likely to be done in time for some state primaries, many of which are in May and June.

The number of states is likely to grow. At least 28 said they want Homeland Security to conduct the risk assessments, according to a 50-state survey of state election officials by The Associated Press.

The security reviews are designed to identify any weaknesses that could be exploited by hackers; such examinations are routinely conducted in the private sector. They are just one tool, although an important one, in ensuring a computer network has a robust defense.

Homeland Security officials attribute the backlog to increased demand for such reviews since the 2016 election and say they are devoting more money and shifting resources to reduce wait times. The reviews typically take two weeks each.

“Elections remain a top priority,” said Matt Masterson, the department’s senior adviser for cybersecurity.

Some states prefer to do the security checks on their own, with some, such as New Hampshire, expressing concern about federal overreach in a country where elections are run by state and local governments.

Cybersecurity experts say that as long as the process is robust, it should not matter who conducts the risk assessments.

“You could do this right in a number of different ways,” said Mike Garcia, lead author of a handbook for state and local election officials released recently by the nonprofit Center for Internet Security. “What matters is that you are doing it right.”

The delays have caught the attention of Congress, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which recommended in March that Homeland Security expand capacity to reduce wait times.

“DHS and the FBI have made great strides, but they must do more,” committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said at the time.

Of the other states holding primaries on Tuesday, the traditional battlegrounds of North Carolina and Ohio said they had received on-site reviews by Homeland Security. Election officials in the fourth state, West Virginia, told the AP they have yet to request a federal risk assessment but plan to do so before the November election. They asked the National Guard to help monitor the state’s election networks on Tuesday.

Other states that told the AP they had received the DHS reviews are Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oregon.

Two of the states targeted in 2016 — Alabama and Oklahoma — have yet to request a DHS security review.

Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill said the state could still decide to make the request before the election.

“We are trying to be as prepared as we can possibly be with our existing partners,” Merrill said. “We want to keep every option open that we have.”

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Indiana awaits Homeland Security election risk assessment review as primaries heat up

INDIANAPOLIS — With the midterm congressional primaries about to go into full swing, the Department of Homeland Security has completed security reviews of election systems in only about half the states that have requested them so far.

The government’s slow pace in conducting the reviews has raised concerns that the nation’s voting systems could be vulnerable to hacking, especially after U.S. intelligence agencies warned that Russia plans to continue meddling in the country’s elections.

Among those still waiting for Homeland Security to conduct a risk assessment is Indiana, one of four states with primaries on Tuesday. Its ballot includes several hotly contested races, including a Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said she is confident state officials have done what they can to safeguard Tuesday’s voting, but acknowledged: “I’ll probably be chewing my fingernails during the entire day on Election Day.”

Like other states, Indiana used a private vendor to conduct a risk assessment and is one of 33 states and 32 local election offices that are receiving remote cyber scanning services from Homeland Security to identify vulnerabilities in their networks.

The concerns aren’t just theoretical.

The nation’s intelligence chiefs warned earlier this year that Russia remains interested in disrupting U.S. elections after a multipronged effort to interfere two years ago. That included attempts to hack into the election systems of 21 states.

Election officials in nine of those states said they were still waiting for a DHS risk assessment, according to a nationwide AP survey.

There is no indication Russian hackers succeeded in manipulating any votes, but U.S. security agencies say they did manage to breach the voter rolls in Illinois. That state and Texas are the only two to hold statewide primaries so far this year, and neither reported any intrusions into their election systems.

But a local election in Tennessee last week highlights the concern: Knox County has hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate why a website that reports election results crashed after the polls closed.

The county’s technology director said some of the unusually heavy traffic came from overseas servers. DHS spokesman Scott McConnell said there is no indication so far that the outage was caused by a “malicious actor.”

Homeland Security designated elections systems critical infrastructure just months after the 2016 presidential election, adding them to a list that includes chemical plants, dams and nuclear reactors.

The department said it has completed risk assessments of election systems in just nine of the 17 states that have formally requested them so far. It has pledged to finish them by November for every state that asks, but the reviews are not likely to be done in time for some state primaries, many of which are in May and June.

The number of states is likely to grow. At least 28 said they want Homeland Security to conduct the risk assessments, according to a 50-state survey of state election officials by The Associated Press.

The security reviews are designed to identify any weaknesses that could be exploited by hackers; such examinations are routinely conducted in the private sector. They are just one tool, although an important one, in ensuring a computer network has a robust defense.

Homeland Security officials attribute the backlog to increased demand for such reviews since the 2016 election and say they are devoting more money and shifting resources to reduce wait times. The reviews typically take two weeks each.

“Elections remain a top priority,” said Matt Masterson, the department’s senior adviser for cybersecurity.

Some states prefer to do the security checks on their own, with some, such as New Hampshire, expressing concern about federal overreach in a country where elections are run by state and local governments.

Cybersecurity experts say that as long as the process is robust, it should not matter who conducts the risk assessments.

“You could do this right in a number of different ways,” said Mike Garcia, lead author of a handbook for state and local election officials released recently by the nonprofit Center for Internet Security. “What matters is that you are doing it right.”

The delays have caught the attention of Congress, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which recommended in March that Homeland Security expand capacity to reduce wait times.

“DHS and the FBI have made great strides, but they must do more,” committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said at the time.

Of the other states holding primaries on Tuesday, the traditional battlegrounds of North Carolina and Ohio said they had received on-site reviews by Homeland Security. Election officials in the fourth state, West Virginia, told the AP they have yet to request a federal risk assessment but plan to do so before the November election. They asked the National Guard to help monitor the state’s election networks on Tuesday.

Other states that told the AP they had received the DHS reviews are Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oregon.

Two of the states targeted in 2016 — Alabama and Oklahoma — have yet to request a DHS security review.

Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill said the state could still decide to make the request before the election.

“We are trying to be as prepared as we can possibly be with our existing partners,” Merrill said. “We want to keep every option open that we have.”

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82nd Airborne hosts first electronic warfare competition

Drew Brooks Military editor @DrewBrooks

Sgt. 1st Class Mike Sanders and Sgt. Sam Odior stood just outside a cluster of pine trees and stared at a small screen.

Sanders pressed an icon on the screen as Odior glanced up at the antenna protruding from a pack on the other soldier’s back.

“I think I’ve got something,” Sanders said as Odior leaned forward to get a better look.

“We’ve got a possible hit on the freq,” the paratrooper repeated, this time into a radio, signalling three other soldiers nearby.

In a wooded training area on Fort Bragg, the team of soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division were involved in a complicated game of hide and seek.

Using an electronic warfare system known as the VMAX, paratroopers from across the 82nd Airborne Division were competing to find a series of waypoints. Using the VMAX, the soldiers scanned for a signal frequency and then honed in on its source.

The navigational test was the first event in the 82nd Airborne Division’s inaugural Electronic Warfare Competition.

Lt. Col. Robert A. Robinson II, the division’s cyber electromagnetic activities, or CEMA, chief and the officer in charge of the competition, said the event was designed to showcase skills that are becoming more and more important on the modern battlefield.

Electronic warfare is used to jam enemy signals, defeat unmanned aerial systems and disable improvised explosive devices.

Robinson said teams received an alert with a location grid early Monday.

“They knew the competition was going to start, but they didn’t know where,” he said. “We’re trying to stick to the traditions of the division: to be ready any time, any where.”

The three-day competition will include several classroom tests, but it began in the field.

Capt. Brian Mercado of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team said the navigation test was forcing the soldiers to use their electronic warfare systems in ways they haven’t before.

In past training, Mercado said, soldiers used the VMAX systems defensively on drop zones to protect paratroopers from enemy systems. But the navigational test showed that the systems also could be used to pinpoint an enemy force.

“This goes beyond our typical training,” Mercado said.

The system is the size of a large backpack with large antennas protruding overhead and can be jumped with a paratrooper. The lightweight system can detect, locate, monitor and jam radio frequency signals.

Each brigade combat team in the division has a CEMA cell. And each sent at least one team to compete, Robinson said. Each must be able to plan, troubleshoot and execute missions as they are provided.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “Electronic warfare is a big part of the future and this is the tactical-level support we provide.”

Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at [email protected] or 486-3567.