BOSSIER CITY, La. (WAFB) - Officials announced a new cybersecurity partnership that will help bolster Louisiana’s I-20 Cyber Corridor.
The partnership, which will create the state’s first cybersecurity education center, was announced Tuesday during a ceremony at the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City. Chancellor Rick Bateman of Bossier Parish Community College and Chief Operations Officer Bryan Dickens of Cybint Solutions Inc. had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop the cyber center at Bossier Parish Community College’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology.
“Well over a decade ago, the leaders of Northwest Louisiana joined the State of Louisiana in creating the Cyber Innovation Center as an anchor of the 3,000-acre National Cyber Research Park here in Bossier City,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards, who also attended the ceremony. “Today, GDIT employs 800 cybersecurity professionals here because of that effort, we have a major STEM Building serving students and veterans, and shared by Bossier Parish Community College and Louisiana Tech University. We have established an I-20 Cyber Corridor stretching from this cyber hub, and the Global Strike Command of Barksdale Air Force Base, to the Fortune 500 headquarters of CenturyLink in Monroe. Today, we’re assembling another strategic asset that will make Louisiana a national and global leader in cybersecurity.”
The BPCC building will host ongoing cybersecurity training, credential coursework, and field exercises on a virtual cyber range. The program will also provide resources for those who want to take online training.
A late 2017 report the Commerce and Homeland Security departments identified 300,000 active openings for cyber-related jobs in the U.S. The report projected a global shortage of 1.8 million cyber jobs by 2022.
President Craig Spohn of the Cyber Innovation Center said the new partnership will benefit the U.S. military as it modernizes missions in the future. Barksdale’s Global Strike Command, located at Barksdale Air Force Base, could be a key beneficiary.
Over the next several months, BPCC and Cybint Solutions will begin establishing the center, which includes developing curriculum and building a financial model for revenue sharing.
The partnership represents another technology development since Governor John Bel Edwards and his delegation last October went on an economic development mission to Israel. During the trip, Edwards met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a meeting that focused on defense and cyber security.
Earlier this year, Edwards announced the formation of an Innovation and Integration Lab in Baton Rouge, a partnership of LSU’s Stephenson Technologies Corp. and Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. For the Bossier partnership, Cybint Solutions is based in New York but has its roots in cyber solutions developed by Israeli Defense Forces veterans and industry professionals. Discussions in Israel between Gov. Edwards and Cybint Solutions helped bring about the cyber center partnership in Northwest Louisiana.