Augusta U. bolsters cyber commitment with new training facility


Georgia officials converged Wednesday on Augusta University’s campus to recognize the state’s latest commitment to cybersecurity education, training and defense.

State officials, including Gov. Nathan Deal, were on campus to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the second phase of the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training — a project that, in total, has garnered $110 million between the governor’s office and the city of Augusta.

The cyber range and training facility — expected to span over 330,000 square feet upon its completion in December, making it one of the largest facilities of its kind — will be built and operated by the Georgia Technology Authority, which partners with U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, the
City of Augusta, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System
of Georgia, local school systems and private corporations, among others. Augusta University is part of the University System of Georgia.

The facility will bring together academia, government and industry experts to learn and share best practices in cybersecurity and cyberdefense, the governor’s office said in a statement. Augusta President Brooks Keel told the Augusta Chronicle that he suspects it’s the first of many cybersecurity projects to take root on the Hull McKnight center’s 17-acre site.

The groundbreaking ceremony comes just weeks after Augusta University announced it would begin offering a degree in cybersecurity, where students can earn a Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security.

Craig Albert, graduate director of the program, said he hopes this new area of study will allow Augusta University to become “the destination of understanding cyber terrorism.”

Augusta also has an established School of Computer and Cyber Sciences, created last summer and housed in the university’s robust Cyber Institute.

The Cyber Institute, launched over two years ago, aims to educate the future cybersecurity workforce — in Georgia and across the country — and build partnerships with K-12 schools and districts.

A $2.5 million Cyber Institute lab is set to open this spring during Master’s Week.

Correction: This article previously stated that a new program focused on intelligence and security studies was in the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences. That master’s program is actually part of the Katherine Reese Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and
Social Sciences.