The nation's defense needs have moved beyond the traditional battlefield and now include the elusive, evolving world of cyber threats. Security breaches, takedowns of government websites and the manipulation of high-tech defense missions are potential vulnerabilities that demand the U.S. constantly develop leading cyber strategies.
The Cyber Innovation Center, or CIC, in Bossier City, La., is a promising hub for this burgeoning sector. The high-security, $110 million public-private venture was launched in 2007 to promote research, to support and market cyber technologies, and to encourage collaboration between government, industry and academia.
The CIC is the anchor entity in Bossier City's new National Cyber Research Park, whose first phase was completed in April 2010. The 135,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility currently hosts divisions of companies making headway in this space, including the Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman, SAIC, Venyu and Hitachi Data Systems. The U.S. Eighth Air Force Headquarters, part of the Air Force Global Strike Command at nearby Barksdale Air Force Base, is also a tenant.
Executive Director Craig Spohn believes Northwest Louisiana can become a nerve center for cyber innovation, research and job creation. To ensure the workforce pipeline flows, the CIC is working closely with education institutions on new academic and training programs.
"The right elements are here for major growth, including low-cost electricity, extensive partners and affordable cost of living," Spohn said. "This is the place to make it happen."