With midterm elections less than a day away, National Guard cyber units have been made ready to help several states protect their election systems if necessary.
On Friday, according to Politico, the National Guard Bureau announced that the following states have enlisted some of the Guard’s cybersecurity units to help with the midterms: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia.
This move has been reported to be part of a national effort to keep elections secure, particularly in many of these battleground states where political seats are closely contested.
According to Politico, the National Guard has 38 cyber units and this is not the first time that these cyber units have been used in connection with elections.
Just earlier this year, for some of the primaries, several states utilized the National Guard‘s cyber personnel.
Some National Guard leaders have been warning about the dangers of cyberattacks in light of the upcoming midterms.
#Cybersecurity units from the @NationalGuard will be activated in 14 states to help counter any threats to election officials’ networks ahead of, during, and after the #Midterms2022, according to reports. https://t.co/DlBGF8EG5R
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) November 7, 2022
According to Politico, Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh from the Washington state Air National Guard said assistance from the National Guard could be essential in helping states avoid cyberattacks.
“You don’t train people in corporations and the state public sectors to do this kind of work. One of the unique things here is you have the National Guard whose mission it is in a lot of cases to do cyber missions against other military structures,” Welsh said.
The head of the Illinois National Guard, Air Force Maj. Gen Rich Neely, likewise warned about the dangers of cyberattacks, according to StateScoop a technology news site that focuses on state government operations.
“Cyber’s that new domain. It’s a man-made domain. Our goal is to make sure we have as secure elections as possible. We are at the really beginning stages of this,” Neely said.
Politico also reported that these National Guard cyber units will be coordinating with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is under the Department of Homeland Security.
However, the news that the National Guard will be helping safeguard the elections had speculation and questions buzzing on social media.
Some have even gone so far as to theorize that there is foul play afoot.
“What’s going on here? If our elections are secure, why do we need help from 38 national guard cyber security teams in 14 close states for this election? The answer one of two things: 1) Biden lied about our elections being secure, or 2) Biden is using these teams to cheat,” one Twitter user posted.
What’s going on here? If our elections are secure, why do we need help from 38 national guard cyber security teams in 14 close states for this election? The answer one of two things: 1) Biden lied about our elections being secure, or 2) Biden is using these teams to cheat. https://t.co/IFXo2Rxgdp
— Joe (@JoeKennewick) November 5, 2022
“Does this mean help them cheat or protect us? So confusing!” another user questioned.
Cybersecurity units from the National Guard will be activated in 14 states to help counter any threats to election networks ahead of, during, and following the Nov. 8 elections, according to reports.
Does this mean help them cheat or protect us? So confusing!
— Laura K (@LauraKronen) November 7, 2022
“Are voting systems supposed to be on the internet?” another user queried.
Are voting systems supposed to be on the internet?https://t.co/pWBFQHTVgI
— Lisa Derr 💦 (@Bluewater1961) November 7, 2022
Aside from the Guard’s cyber units available to states, StateScoop also reported that the National Guard is preparing for any potential unrest surrounding the elections.
“We’re not expecting to see anything. But much like we did after Jan. 6, if the Guard’s called in, the Guard responds as needed. We’re not expecting anything with what we’re seeing,” Neely said, according to StateScoop.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.