work. Those software tools can scan the configurations, assess the operating systems and identify issues.
Those issues can range in severity. Some may be a critical vulnerability that cannot be fixed or others may be
something that can be easily patched.
The colonel said it’s the fact that so many things can
be done within the range that makes it so useful.
“You could run whatever simulated attack in the
range environment you wanted,” Breazile said. “You
could do force on force, you could put tools out there
that hackers use and others use that attack us day in
and day out and learn how to defend and how to identify what they might be doing, or how to identify
markers that [indicate] they are in our networks. So
we learn through doing that in a virtual environment.”
Joseph Caternor, a civilian program analyst who has
been intimately involved with the effort, said $9.1 million
was allocated for the range when the Corps identified a
gap in the service’s cyber capabilities and a need for some
place where Marines could conduct tests and training
evaluations that are simulated without causing real harm
to real networks. The range allows them a way to refine
processes and tactics in a controlled environment.
There could be more improvements down the line:
the $9.1 million was just to stand up a basic range
where these types of simulations can take place.
“Think of it as a home: You have walls and a roof,
but you don’t have a couch” or other similar details,
The money was allocated last year, and after a six-month effort, the range stood up in December.
Breazile said the Marines did not have a range before,
and it was obvious to them that it simply was not enough
to rely on the Defense Department’s (DoD’s) cyber security range, even though it was located in the same facility.
For one thing, that cyber range is focused on what
Breazile called the “tier 1” level of DoD networks, and
it did not get deep enough into the networks to provide good, thorough training for cyber Marines.
“We needed the tier 2 and tier 3 levels of our net-
works, which represents what is on our base posting
stations and networks operations centers,” he said.
“We’re still learning what we can do with it. We can
really stand these exercises up in no time.”
It cost a little bit to build in a constrained budget
environment, but Breazile argues the range will save
the Marines $60 million every year in cost avoidance
because it requires less people and less time. Before the
range, the annual vulnerability reviews were labor
intensive and required months to complete. Now, the
process is much more efficient. In most cases, certifica-
tions can be done in a day.
But more importantly, it allows Marines to be better
prepared for the cyber domain, Caternor said.
“When they go back to the fleet, they do different
types of jobs,” he said. “They’re not always in their
field. This is basically continuous training.
“Now, if they can centrally manage it and can access
it in any place, it improves their skill set any time
they’re jumping into the lab to do any lab work or
training,” he continued. “So an individual Marine can
keep their skills up.” ;
37 WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / SEPTEMBER 2015
U.S. Marine Cpl Zachary C. White and Cpl Philip B. Kubin, left, cyber network specialists, 7th Communications Battalion, III Marine
Expeditionary Force, set up communications during a Combined Joint Live Fire Exercise at Rodriguez Range, South Korea, in
March 2014. A new training range near Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., will prepare Marines to fight on the cyber battlefield.