Miramar-Based Marines Participate In Historic Cyber Warfare Exercise

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Marines walk outside one of the tents set up for a major cyber exercise at Miramar Air Station, Aug. 19, 2016.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is participating in one of the largest cyber warfare exercises in Marine Corps history.

More than 3,000 marines, sailors and civilians are taking part in the exercise — stretched between Miramar, Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms, Barstow and Quantico, Virginia. They're simulating what it's like to fight a country which has just as much access to technology as the U.S.

The entire cyber operation took about 10 months to plan, and it seeks to answer questions including, "How do you react to social media coming out of an opposing country?" and especially difficult for younger warriors, "How do you keep fighting, even when the enemy knocks out all of the expensive technology?"

Major Gen. David Coffman admits that after Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marines are playing catch up when it comes to things like cyber warfare.

“We have spent 15 years in sustained land campaigns, largely in what we call counter insurgency type of environment," said Coffman, who's deputy commanding general 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. "We do not denigrate. We praise the service of our Marines and sailors. We mourn the loses, but this is a horse of a different color.”

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