Savannah cyber exercise presents new opportunity for GSU Students


Davis Cobb, Correspondent

SAVANNAH — As part of a virtual exercise conducted by the Army Cyber Institute to examine proper conduct during cyber attacks, director of the Armstrong Campus Center for Applied Cyber Education Frank Katz represented Georgia Southern University as an observer over the exercise September 24.

The exercise, called Jack Voltaic 3.0, is designed to simulate a potential cyber attack on Savannah’s ports, participants were given the task of helping deploy United States troops from the ports to a European country, where a potential threat had occurred, while also working with and ensuring several governmental and utility agencies, including the US Army and Georgia Power, returned to and remained fully operational.

“The purpose of the exercise was to gauge all sorts of governmental and private agencies.” Katz said. “The best way to describe it is if the port of Savannah–two days earlier they had done it with the port of Charleston–had been hit by a cyber attack.”

As the name suggests, this is the third such Jack Voltaic; the original was conducted in 2016, and involved a more basic framework of the most recent one. Jack Voltaic 3.0 was specifically modeled to also account for the COVID-19 epidemic, removing certain simulated workers from the exercise to hamper the participants’ progress and require them to work around it.

Students from the Center for Cyber Applied Education did not participate, but Katz plans to take the information gathered from the exercise and apply it to his department’s curriculum, stating that it is important they receive experience with real-world problems to prepare them for their careers in cybersecurity.

“When our students graduate, we often send them to government agencies like the National Security Agency and the Department of Defense,” he said. “Once students get into their careers, they may actually have to be involved, not just in some kind of practice exercise, but in reality when it comes to something like this. This is really good training if we can implement what we learn in the exercise into our coursework.”

For more information on Jack Voltaic 3.0, please visit