Information provided by LSU media relations.
BATON ROUGE – LSU's Stephenson Technologies Corporation, or STC, an applied research corporation that provides solutions for the defense and intelligence communities, has received a $10 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense's Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL.
The award will establish a Small Business Cyber Security Operations Center, or SB-CSOC, near campus to improve the overall cybersecurity resilience of the region – a strategic manufacturing corridor – by helping local small businesses proactively and actionably defend themselves against cyber incidents, while training the next generation of cyber talent through real-world experience.
The SB-CSOC award is among LSU's largest Department of Defense project to date, and follows the recent announcement by the Office of the Secretary of Defense naming STC's maritime intelligence fusion efforts for the Naval Research Laboratory as its project of the year.
Small businesses are essential to local and regional economies. They provide services and support supply chains. Small businesses are also the target of nearly 50 percent of all cyber-related crime, yet oftentimes have neither the technical nor financial resources to vigilantly combat evolving threats. Even a moderately sophisticated cyber-attack can be disastrous for a small business. Such an attack on a business owner and local economy impacts the overall resilience of an industry sector and region.
The SB-CSOC will address this challenge by providing small businesses with user-friendly tools that educate and minimize risk, and position business owners to benefit from the same advanced cybersecurity strategies employed by large industry, including direct integration with state and federal cyber threat information. Work on SB-CSOC will begin in 2018.
Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order in 2017 establishing a Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission to advance the state's cyber ecosystem and position Louisiana as a national leader and preferred location for cyber business, education and research. He currently serves as co-chair of the Resource Center for State Cybersecurity for the National Governors Association.
"LSU's Stephenson Technologies Corporation demonstrates what we can achieve when we capitalize on our expertise and apply our research capabilities to real-world challenges that impact us every day," Edwards said. "Whether we're talking about the energy, chemical or maritime sectors, Louisiana plays a critical role in the nation's economy. What we do here has an impact, and that's why leading the country in cybersecurity is a priority. Through this major defense contract, our small businesses now have an ally in that fight, and we can provide real solutions to develop the cyber workforce of tomorrow."
Established in 2016 as an LSU affiliate to serve the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the intelligence community and federal markets, STC works closely with LSU's Transformational Technologies & Cyber Research Center, or TTCRC, to translate and apply the university's expertise and assets into capabilities for defense and intelligence customers.
LSU President F. King Alexander said, "As the state's flagship university, LSU's core mission is developing future leaders as well as scientific and technological solutions that will both create and ensure the economy of the future. STC's award underscores the importance of LSU's approach and capabilities, and strengthens the university's growing national reputation as a trusted source of cybersecurity expertise, and an innovative leader in solutions for business and government."
"Louisiana plays an important national role in the energy, chemical and maritime sectors, making resilient businesses - regardless of size – a priority for the state and country," said Jeff Moulton, president and CEO of STC and director of TTCRC. "Despite small businesses being the core of the economy, they don't have the expertise and don't get the same attention from a cybersecurity perspective as large infrastructure. SB-CSOC changes that paradigm by recognizing cyber threats affect us all, and offering these businesses tools they can trust, understand and use to protect themselves and their livelihoods.
For the students that work there, SB-CSOC will serve as the best classroom we can imagine: they'll have the opportunity to take on challenges that have real impact to their community."
STC is partnering with Huntsville, Ala.-based Radiance Technologies, a $120 million U.S. Department of Defense contractor, which recently opened an office at the Louisiana Emerging Technology Center on the LSU campus. Heath Berry, assistant vice president of the cyber solutions group and a technical fellow, is leading the effort for Radiance.
"This effort is a key part of the Cyber Solutions Group's strategic vision for providing protection to the nation's key critical infrastructure assets. Radiance is excited to continue growing our presence in Louisiana, continue the partnership with LSU and STC and continue providing cyber technologies to AFRL," Berry said.
Radiance also recently won the AFRL's Agile Cyber Technology 2, or ACT 2, contract. ACT 2 is a five-year, $950 million ceiling, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, or ID/IQ, contract vehicle to research, develop and integrate cyber solutions to address emerging requirements for the Air Force and its mission partners.
Through Louisiana Economic Development, the State of Louisiana is supporting TTCRC research at a rate of $1 for each $10 in research funding attracted by the cyber center. At the same time, LSU is matching $0.50 for each $10 in research funding attracted.