INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's Adjutant General says talent will be key for the state's new cyber battalion. Governor Eric Holcomb last week announced the nation's fifth National Guard cyber battalion will be located in the Hoosier state, which Brigadier General Dale Lyles says highlights the importance of Indiana and the Indiana National Guard to national security. He says it also demonstrates that Indiana has the internal resources to man, train and equip what will be known as the 127th Cyber Protection Battalion.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Brig. Gen. Lyles talked about why Indiana was selected to house the battalion.

"Some of the criteria that was used by the Secretary of the Army and the Army National Guard for stationing it here was the secure containerized information facilities that we have that allows us to do top secret classified information within that space," said Lyles. "Indiana National Guard, probably five years ago, saw that this was an emerging requirement and so we contributed heavily into our military construction to build that space in Indiana."

Lyles says two main factors helped to tip the scales in Indiana's favor. He says Indiana's academic institutions, such as Purdue University, Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College, have leaned forward in the cybersecurity space. Also, the Indiana Army National Guard is home to the Ivy Tech Cyber Academy at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

Lyles says now that the state has landed the cyber battalion, the goal now is to find the right talent to fill it.

"Acquiring the right talent over the course of the next two years will be what we'll do. We'll seek to reclassify Indiana guardsmen that are currently in the Guard now that want to transition into the cyber space, as well as recruiting new candidates that want to join the Indiana National Guard and become 'cyber warriors.' The next thing that we'll have to do once we get the talent and the battalion manned, then we'll have to train it and equip it. All three of those components will be done simultaneously in the short term as we put the battalion."

Looking toward the long-term, Lyles says the goal is to get the battalion ready as soon as possible so it can be capable of defending the United States and the state of Indiana against any sort of cyber attack. He adds they are also looking to partner with the newly-established Indiana Defense Network.

Lyles adds the battalion will attract new business from the defense sector to Indiana. He says a partnership with the Indiana Defense Network will help in that effort.