LINCOLN — A special Nebraska National Guard unit with expertise in blocking cyberattacks is headed to the Washington, D.C., area to help military and government agencies secure their computer networks.

The yearlong deployment to Fort Meade, Maryland, is the first ever for the 18-member Nebraska Army National Guard’s 179th Cyber Protection Team, which was formed two years ago.

Members of the special unit include citizen soldiers who do cybersecurity work at their civilian jobs, according to Maj. Scott Ingalsbe, a Guard spokesman.

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The Lincoln-based unit includes 11 soldiers from Nebraska and eight others from Missouri and Arkansas. They received a send-off ceremony Tuesday morning at the State Capitol hosted by Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Ingalsbe said the unit will work with a variety of military and government agencies as assigned by the U.S. Cyber Command.

“It (also) will be part of the larger team within the U.S. government to ensure cyber security and guard against other threats to the United States, the government and our people,” he said.

In 2017, Texans saw Nebraska Nice in action after Hurricane Harvey

A year ago, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, bringing destructive winds and flooding that devastated the Houston area. In its wake, the Nebraska National Guard, a task force of first responders and others went to the area to provide aid, rescue residents and save lives. The World-Herald told their stories.

Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

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