Governor Deal Announces $50M Cyber Innovation Center in Augusta

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Gov. Nathan Deal announced $50 million in funding to establish the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta. The center will be a state-owned cyber range that brings together academia, private industry and government to establish cybersecurity standards across state and local agencies to develop and practice protocols for responding to cyber threats.
 
“Cybersecurity is especially important now that cybercrime is bigger than the global black market for marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined,” said Deal. “The protection of Georgia’s citizens, businesses and institutions in the digital realm is becoming significantly more necessary as cybercrime continues to grow. Building on our efforts to keep Georgia safe and maintain its status as the No. 1 state in which to do business, we are taking action to ensure that Georgia leads the way on cybersecurity.”
 
The Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center will be a place to advance the field of information security with research on vulnerability that will help ensure reliable and effective practices.
 
“I support Governor Deal and his commitment to further establish Georgia as a leader in cyber innovation and security,” said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. “We have a tremendous opportunity as a state to leverage our resources with our research institutions and military bases, and this collaborative initiative will result in a better trained and equipped cyber force.”
 
The facility will be focused on training, education, research and development and will act as an incubator hub for cybersecurity startup companies. This concept is designed to challenge professionals and systems in a safe and protected setting in preparation for cyber incidents.
 
“I applaud the Governor for including this initiative in the amended budget for this critical work around cybersecurity,” said House Speaker David Ralston. “This will distinguish Georgia as the national leader in this arena. We look forward to working with our state leaders in securing the funding for this opportunity.”
 
Close collaboration between public and private entities is paramount to the success of the center, with support for this initiative spreading across multiple sectors. The Georgia Technology Authority will partner with numerous entities, including the University System of Georgia, the Augusta University Cyber Institute, the Technical College System of Georgia, local school systems, the Georgia National Guard, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, federal agencies and private corporations in the establishment of the facility.
 
“Having a front row seat in our Nation's battle against adversary cyber threats, we at the National Security Agency recognize a strong partnership between government, academia, and the private sector is a prerequisite to the victory over an entity that wishes to do us harm in or through cyberspace,” said the National Security Agency (NSA). “The Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center will allow our best and brightest, from both the public and private sector, to develop critical relationships in an innovative and collaborative training environment. We laud Governor Deal's strategic vision and decision to build the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta. This location takes full advantage of NSA's growing relationship with Augusta University, as well as the Army's Cyber Center of Excellence on Fort Gordon, and Army Cyber Command in the near future. NSA looks forward to this opportunity to partner with academia, the private sector, and other government entities to help recruit, train, and retain the next generation of Cyber Security experts required to protect our Nation against potential devastating cyber-attacks.”
 
Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison, Jr., Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon Commanding General, provided the following statement: “Fort Gordon has always enjoyed a tremendous partnership with the State of Georgia and the Greater Augusta community in particular. As one of very few Army installations with continuing growth, that partnership will continue to have strategic importance. With the establishment of Fort Gordon as the Army's Cyber Center of Excellence and soon as the Headquarters for Army Cyber Command, Fort Gordon will quickly become the hub of Cyberspace Operations for the Army. Investments such as the Cyber Range will not only enable our Nation to maintain its advantage in a highly contested cyberspace domain, it will also allow for the type of partnerships between the Department of Defense, Academia, and Industry that is required to attract, produce, and retain the caliber of workforce necessary to be a global leader in cyberspace operations and cyber technologies. We look forward to the opportunities that this Cyber Range will present to the local community, the State, and the Nation.”
 
“In order to protect those they serve, businesses, government agencies and the military have increased their focus on effective cybersecurity,” said Paul Bowers, Georgia Power chairman, president and CEO. “Fort Gordon is already home to the Cyber Center for Excellence and this new cyber command headquarters will build on the existing network in Augusta to significantly improve defensive measures that protect important digital resources. When completed and operational, these facilities will put Georgia at the forefront of cybersecurity, while expanding protection offerings for the public and private sectors.”
 
"With our increasing reliance on the cyber domain, the severity of cyber-attacks to cause catastrophic damage to our infrastructure and erode the public's trust also increases exponentially,” said Brig. Gen. Joseph F. Jarrard, Adjutant General, Georgia National Guard. “The Georgia Department of Defense, with its cyber capabilities and trained network professionals, looks forward to supporting the Governor's Cyber Range initiative. This effort will further his cybersecurity strategy and help mitigate these emerging threats and protect the citizens of Georgia. Additionally, it will not only help develop new and improved measures to defend against cyber-threats but it also establishes a means within our State to build strong and enduring relationships among many different partners to enable us all to quickly and cooperatively respond to critical needs in times of crisis."

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