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STATEWIDE — In this day and age, protecting the country requires boots on the ground as well as fingers on a keyboard.

The Indiana National Guard is ramping up its efforts to make sure it is keeping you safe by creating the state’s first cyber battalion, and the fifth battalion of its kind throughout the United States.

Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles with the National Guard said Indiana was the perfect choice to station the battalion for several reasons. He said Indiana saw the need for strong cyber defenses early and already has the infrastructure in place to house the battalion.

“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 said to Inside Indiana Business. “That was one of the key criteria because didn’t have to have the additional cost for infrastructure.”

Lyles added another reason the battalion will be stationed in Indiana is the investment in cyber programs by state colleges and universities. He said that opens the Guard to new recruiting opportunities.

“Acquiring the right talent over the next two years will be what we’ll do,” said Lyles. “We’ve been reclassifying current guardsmen that want to transfer into the cyberspace, as well as recruiting new candidates.”

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.

On top of the defense aspect, he said the battalion will also attract more cyber and tech companies to set up operations in Indiana.

(PHOTO: Photofusion/Getty Images)