NC National Guard General, ELP Alum Helps Lead Groundbreaking Cybersecurity Effort

North Carolina National Guard Adjutant General Todd Hunt, a graduate of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Executive Leaders Program, is helping drive a unique cybersecurity initiative that combines federal, state, and local partners.

Major Gen. Hunt (ELP cohort 1701) oversees the North Carolina Joint Cyber Security Task Force (JCTF), which includes National Guardsmen, State Emergency Management, the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the North Carolina Department of Information Technology. All state agencies have personnel assigned to the task force in a full-time capacity with liaisons in the federal agencies.

A look inside the Joint Cybersecurity Mission Center

While more than a dozen other states also have cybersecurity task forces, Hunt said the unique nature and volume of the North Carolina task force’s partnerships and its ability to work directly with each other distinguishes it from the others. 

“We’re one of the only states in the nation with such a range of partners and the only state in the nation able to share information in the same room through our Joint Cyber Mission Center,” Hunt said. “It’s the collaboration of different agencies that sets us apart from other states. There is no silver bullet, so we have to work together.”

Hunt also praised his CHDS education as having played a critical role in understanding the importance of agency collaboration.

“The creation of the North Carolina JCTF tremendously enhanced support and gained efficiencies for the state,” he said. “The JCTF flattens agency silos of information into a collaborative environment with various expertise. While attending the Executive Leader’s Program of CHDS, I realized the power of collaboration and resources within Federal and State agencies. When agencies are brought together with the right leadership and common purpose, mutually supporting each other, we are more efficient and effective in the mission of keeping Americans safe within the homeland.”

LtCdr. Robbie Felicio, who serves as the NC National Guard Cyberchief and Communications Officer, agreed with importance of collaboration on the cybersecurity initiative.

“The North Carolina National Guard’s Cyber Security Response Force sets itself apart by putting collaboration at the forefront of our mission, working hand in hand with our local, state, and federal partners,” he said. “We recognize that there is no silver bullet in cyber security, and standing alone is not an option. It’s these vital partnerships that form the foundation of our success, empowering us to stand united and more robust in our collective battle against cyber threats.”

Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, the task force provides a range of services including quick reaction support to local and state government entities, security assessments and prevention training, continuous network monitoring, training and outreach, forensic support and surge capability support when needed, according to Hunt, offering access to services many agencies wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.

“With the expense of cybersecurity and local municipalities not fully manned in many cases to defend their networks, our task force is able to support them in a State Active-Duty status, similar to how the National Guard supports a wildfire, hurricane recovery, and flood, etc.,” he said.

In 2022, the task force participated in 17 cyber incident response missions, 47 cyber assessments, and 6 training events, impacting about 200 attendees. Also, during the past three elections, the task force has monitored the election systems network.

One of the JCTF soldiers enroute to a Cyber Mission

Hunt said the task force is an “economically feasible and reliable way to help secure local and state networks from malicious actors,” providing “hometown trusted agents” mainly of National Guard cyber professionals to work with local communities. 

“The creation of the task force in a central location with full time personnel creates a forum of collaboration an information sharing” from the state to federal level, he said. “This collaboration and information sharing has a positive effect at the local, state and national level when defending the networks against criminal and global cyber threats.”

Hunt received his commission as an aviation officer in 1987 through the Army ROTC Department at East Carolina University, where he also earned a Bachelor of Science in Geology and a Minor in Military Science. 

Hunt completed initial rotary-wing aviation training at Fort Rucker, AL, in 1990, then served in multiple leadership roles throughout the Aviation Branch, from Company to Brigade, to include Battalion S-3 Operations Officer, Battalion Executive Officer and two Battalion Commands of 1-130th Regiment (ATK), and 2-130th Airfield Operations Battalion at Fort Bragg, NC, respectively. 

He deployed twice, once to Kuwait as Detachment Commander of Company E (-) 130th Aviation in 1998 and again in 2003 to Afghanistan as the 1-130th Battalion Executive Officer. He received numerous awards and decorations to include the Bronze Star and Air Medal.

Hunt was the Brigade Commander of the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade in 2010 and his follow-on assignment was the J-3 Joint Operations Officer for the North Carolina National Guard from 2012 to 2013.

He is rated in numerous aircraft, which include the UH-1 Iroquois, OH-58 Kiowa, AH-64 Apache (to include D model, Longbow) and the LUH-72 Lakota. He is a graduate of several military courses, and he holds a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

INQUIRIES: Heather Hollingsworth Issvoran, Communications and Recruitment |, 831-402-4672 (PST)

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