I MEF Cyber Team Wins DOD Virtual Capture the Flag Competition > US Marine Corps Flagship Product > News Display
On April 8, 2022, after four days and thirteen hours of testing their defensive cyber operations capabilities, I Marine Expeditionary Force’s DCO Internal Defensive Measures emerged victorious from the Deputy Commander for Information, Marine Corps “Capture the Flag” Cyber Games 2022.
This fourth iteration of the Marine Corps Cyber Games, hosted at the Naval Air Warfare Center via the National Cyber Range in Orlando, Florida; was the first to force teams to focus on defensive cyber skills rather than offensive cyber skills. Here, teams earned points by capturing cyber flags, in a simulated contested environment, which varied in difficulty between Apprentice, Companion and Master.
For the cape. Ian Bergman, a cyberspace warfare operator with MEF’s winning DCO-IDM team, the uniqueness of this year’s event challenged him and his fellow Marines to try new methods data analysis to achieve a common goal.
“Although cyber analysts have similar jobs, everyone is tasked either in pairs, teams or individually to try to solve these puzzles and capture these flags,” Bergman said. “We used the skills that some Marines are better at chasing flags. While each analyst was tasked with capturing their individual flag, we all had to be ready to offer a hand where we could fit in to win.
The team agreed that constructive communication and fluidity between all ranks involved is unique in the cyber community and paramount to its success. launches the corporal. Thomas Feuerborn observed that many storyline solutions would not be solved without the ability to learn from each other.
“The Marine Corps is very much about leadership, where if someone makes a mistake, a lot of people will end up covering up to fix that mistake,” Feuerborn said. “Anyone in cyber can be the key to unlocking a specific problem. Much of it has been instilled from the bottom up; teaching your Marines to be better than you.
Bridging the gap between talent management and problem solving in a simulated environment was a new challenge for the Marines. Staff Sgt. Keith Wolf, DCO-IDM’s team leader, attributed the team’s success to understanding who to employ and where in various scenarios throughout the competition.
“You have to use talent management to know where to start; who is good at what and being able to look at issues from all angles. » Staff Sgt. Keith Wolf, team leader for DCO-IDM
“You have to use talent management to know where to start; who is good at what and able to look at issues from all angles,” Wolf said. “There are a set number of flags in total, which unlock as you progress. Most of the time, you have to solve a question to know how to move on to the next question to answer. The way you could lose points was to be excluded from a question by answering it incorrectly too many times.
Feuerborn said the experience of this year’s competition brought a new level of camaraderie and cohesion to the team, a cohesion that saw them score almost 400 points more than the winning team in the last year.
“Going through these cyber attacks, you’re constantly troubleshooting and solving problems and trying to figure out what’s going on,” Feuerborn said. “There isn’t just one way to answer a given question, but there are more effective or efficient ways to get the answers. It’s about honing this skill with your team or partner doing it with redundancy.
Finding the “missing piece” of a cyber threat directly correlates to that of a typical mathematical equation, according to Bergman. DCO is classified as passive and active defense operations to defend Department and Defense and other friendly cyberspaces. Offensive cyber operations are classified as operations intended to project power through the application of force through cyberspace.
“Let’s say if you write down an equation and try to solve for x, and you forget an algorithm that you needed, I’d remind you to ‘Carry that 2,'” Bergman said. “In cyber, it’s ‘You forgot to click on it.’ If I have information that [my teammate] is missing, he can open it or remove anything that made noise; otherwise, you could just dig and chase the flag permanently.
Due to competitions like the Marine Corps Cyber Games, Team Analyst Sgt. Robert Gerbec said he and the other team members found they were better equipped for any real-life scenarios they might have in the future.
“Exercises like this help us sharpen our eye for the kind of murky situations we may face,” Gerbec said. “You won’t always know where the adversary will be, what type of systems they will use, how they will penetrate your network, or what their ultimate goal is. [During the Cyber Games] we had a description of the scenario, so we had a sort of baseline of the presumed eventual objective of our adversaries, so we knew a few things needed to be checked.
The other four teams that competed were from Marine Corps Cyberspace Operations Group, III MEF, 8th Communications Battalion and Marine Forces Special Operations Command. Each team consisted of six to ten marines.
Members of the MEF DCO-IDM team were Staff Sgt. Keith Wolf, Sgt. Robert Gerbec, Sergeant. Menkarahet Gamble, Cpl. Austin Boyd, Cpl. Ian Bergman, Lance Cpl. Noah Brandstetter, Lance Cpl. Thomas Feuerborn, Cpl. Charles Grubbs, Lance Corporal. Benjamin Patten, and Lance Cpl. Sunjeev Shaik.