The Cyber Frontier

To strengthen cybersecurity across all sectors, public and private entities are working together.

By Anne Cosgrove
From the September/October 2022 Issue

When the White House convened a National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit in July 2022, the meeting of the minds was a long time coming. Hosted by National Cyber Director, Chris Inglis, the event focused on building the nation’s cyber workforce and improving skills-based pathways to cyber jobs.

Results from the Summit include a commitment to developing a National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy in coordination with other elements of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) as well as Federal departments and agencies, with input from key public and private stakeholders.

Also, Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo and Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh announced a 120-day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint that they are leading with support from other Federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Office of Personnel Management, and others. Additionally, Ambassador Susan E. Rice has announced an effort to strengthen the K-12 system to prepare students for job opportunities in cybersecurity. Organizations from the private sector, public sector, and academia have also committed to taking action toward strengthening cybersecurity.

Following are examples of several locations that have been working to create and fortify the cybersecurity infrastructure across the United States.

Opened in 2018, the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta is a public/private collaboration with facilities offering training solutions to address the cybersecurity workforce shortage. (Photo: Georgia Cyber Center)

Augusta, GA Unites Cyber And Community

As a mid-size city, Augusta, GA stands out as a cybersecurity hub with resources in place and where businesses prosper. Cybersecurity businesses within the identified taxonomy, both private and government, generate approximately $1.9 billion in total economic impact and contribute $1.4B (directly and indirectly) to Richmond County’s overall GDP, over 10% of the County’s total GDP.

With an estimated 10,900 employees working directly in the cyber-related industry, Augusta has a substantial cybersecurity workforce for a city of its size. The region has shown significant growth in the cybersecurity industry cluster, growing at an an­nual rate of 6.1% compared to only 3.7% nationally.

The Georgia Cyber Center is a unique public/private collaboration among academia, government, and the private sector. It is designed to meet the growing need for cybersecurity talent by addressing the cybersecurity workforce shortage with creative training solutions while shaping a culture of innovation.

The Hull McKnight building is home to certificate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level programs in information technology, cybersecurity, and cyber sciences offered by Augusta University and Augusta Technical College. Training to meet current and future workforce needs for private industry as well as federal, state, and local government is a key focus in the Georgia Cyber Center’s first building.

The Shaffer MacCartney building fosters innovation and entrepreneurship while serving as a hub for technology startups. It also includes leasable space available to firms and organizations supporting the state’s cybersecurity ecosystem. Resident partners can leverage the center’s strategic resources while benefiting from the world-class collaboration between industry leaders, startup companies, academic institutions, and federal/state government entities.

The Georgia Cyber Center is strategically located in downtown Augusta near Fort Gordon that has approximately 30,000 service members and civilian employees.  Fort Gordon is also home to Army Cyber Command, the Army Cyber Center of Excellence and NSA Georgia.

Resident partners are able to hand pick talent from the schools located here at the Georgia Cyber Center for internships that lead to jobs to help develop the cybersecurity workforce.

There are 25,000 job vacancies in Georgia and working with the K-12 students is critical to help with the cybersecurity workforce shortage. We are doing this by hosting camps and events tailored to these students.

Cyber Patriot Camp is one of many examples of the collaboration that takes place here at the Georgia Cyber Center that helps to develop the workforce. Middle and high schoolers attend camp from the Augusta Boys and Girls Club and from school districts across Georgia, South Carolina and seven counties that surround Fort Gordon. The Alliance for Cyber Education (ACE) team is the current CyberPatriot Center of Excellence of the Year for the entire nation. Instructors from NSA Georgia, the Georgia Cyber Center and units across Fort Gordon help with this effort to locally grow cyber talent and to fill the vast shortage of cyber workers this region needs.

Puerto Rico: Cyber Strong

Companies whose business is focused on cybersecurity, as well as those in other sectors that rely on cybersecurity to safeguard their business, take into account which locations will provide the workforce, training, and infrastructure to not only protect their operations but facilitate growth for the future. Puerto Rico is positioned to be an ideal location for these companies.

Puerto Rico has island-wide 5G broadband access, as well as established LoRa network capabilities and broad satellite connections in place to allow seamless communications with suppliers, customers, and business partners. Meanwhile, connections to Latin America, with the legal and institutional assurance that comes from being part of the United States, mean Puerto Rico is a distinct location from which to offer cybersecurity services.

With island-wide 5G broadband access, established LoRa network capabilities, and broad satellite connections, Puerto Rico is a strong location for cybersecurity firms and services.

In August 2021, technology services firm 7 Eagle Group Caribe ViPR-SOC announced its decision to locate a “Quantum-Resistant” cybersecurity operation on the island. This will be the first of its kind in Puerto Rico. With an initial investment above $6.6 million, 7 Eagle Group Caribe expects to create 150 jobs in its first three years of operation, and 80% of the workforce will be comprised of veterans and military spouses. As part of its focus, the company connects military veterans and transitional service members with careers in cybersecurity and information technology.