Skip to Main Content

MDDF 256th Cyber Defense Unit Nationally Recognized

By Maj. Stephen Rice

On September 16, 2023, the Maryland Defense Force’s (MDDF) 256th Cyber Defense Unit (CDU) was recognized by Maj. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, the adjutant general for Maryland for placing third at the inaugural Cyber Exercise and Competition hosted by the State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS).

This “capture the flag” competition was sponsored by the SGAUS Cyber Defense Academy, and it included national and state guard teams as well as teams from military service academies. The competition was held on November 19, 2022, during the annual SGAUS conference in Albany, New York.

“I’m extremely proud of how we performed under pressure,” said Maj. (MD) Jeremy O’Mard,
who serves as the commander of the 256th CDU. “Our team stepped up to the challenge and
demonstrated proficiency in a multitude of skills and it’s gratifying to see the impact of our
training. I’m looking forward to hopefully taking the top prize in this year’s competition,” O’Mard continued.

The competition challenges included encryption, file analysis, forensics and malware analysis.
Wireless security, open source intelligence and password hashing were also included. The
remaining challenges were penetration testing and defensive operating system surveying. The first-place team was from the New York National Guard and the second-place team was from the Virginia Defense Force.

“This competition gave our cyber warriors a chance to go up against some of the best units across the country and test their skills,” said Brig. Gen. (MD) Gregory J. Juday, commanding general of the MDDF. “More importantly, it gave all of the participants a chance to fine tune their skills in a realistic environment that better prepares these units to take on potential threats. The lessons learned from this competition will make each unit better and our communities safer,” concluded Juday.

The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer militia unit providing
competent, supplementary, professional and technical support and soldiers to the Maryland
Military Department and the State of Maryland as needed. Established in 1917, the MDDF
consists of nearly 200 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland.

For more information:

Comments are closed.