200 soldiers from across the Royal Navy and Field Army community took part in the Royal Signals cyber competition at the Land Systems Reference Centre (LSRC) in Blandford Camp. Exercise Army Cyber Spartan is an inter-unit competition that tests the participants’ technical skills, mental stamina and professional endurance via a series of progressive, dynamic and escalating cyber security challenges.
Between 21-28 Feb the Royal Signals helped organise and host the Army Cyber Spartan competition. Now well established, this is an inter-unit team competition that tests the participant’s technical skills, stamina and endurance via a series of progressive, dynamic and escalating cyber security challenges based on a common scenario.
Assisting the Army Cyber Association, the week has allowed soldiers to understand both the potential and risks that cyberspace provides. The exercise has been designed to be accessible to both experts and those without formal knowledge, and a preparation phase was included, allowing participants the opportunity to learn and rehearse skills.
This exercise could be likened to the cyber version of the famous Cambrian Patrol, where teams from across the Army compete in a highly competitive exercise. The Royal Signals intend to continue the expansion of the annual competition to include a greater number of teams next year.
With support from the Intelligence Corps one of its members said, ‘This exercise is great; we are finally investing in cyber, [and] it is exciting to see the Royal Signals using all the tools available in exercising this emerging field’
This exercise hosted both Regular and Reserve teams, the latter including members of 71 Signal Regiment, our Reserve unit based in London. Sig Hawks, an assistant manager at a restaurant in Milton Keynes with a degree in computer systems engineering said, ‘I am excited to be the first in the Regiment to be the SME in cyber and I can’t wait to take back what we learn this week. It has been challenging as it’s our first time but it has been a fantastic experience to be part of the future of warfare. I want to help educate those in the Regiment and help develop a training plan for the cyber engineers that I serve alongside.’
Sig Bagley from 30 Signal Regiment, also new to cyber, said, ‘I have really enjoyed this week, learning the fundamentals of every aspect of cyber, the competition has been really well organised, and it’s been so different from my day to day job I am already looking forward to next year!’
This year’s competition was also attended by General Sir Sanders, commander of Strategic Command who said, “Fantastic to see personnel competing at the Army Cyber Spartan Event. We need to continually hone our skills in Cyber operations to tackle the imminent threats we face to our way of life”
We were also lucky enough to have the Army Sergeant Major attend, who said, “I visited Army Cyber Spartan 3 today, an exercise in cyber defensive operations. I met with people from all over the Army and was taken by the quality and confidence of our people, regardless of rank. I have never witnessed an exercise quite like this, a great mix of our regular and reserve teammates and some international partners too, it’s a real eye opener. I’m grateful to the small number of people who put the exercise together, largely in their own time. A mammoth effort which has delivered a unique, educational and important experience for our people. Thank you.”