Sunday, March 9, 2008

Eighteen States aim for Cyber Command

There is stiff competition for the permanent home of the Air Force Cyber Command. The provisional command is located at Barksdale AFB in Bossier Parish. Fifty-Six bases in eighteen states are lobbying for the plum assignment. The Air Force Times reported today that the field is limited to the following states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia.

Meanwhile, the state and the parish have each put $50,000,000 into the pot to attract the permanent command, which is expected to create thousands of collateral jobs in the area.

The governor was back in Bossier City on Thursday and said that Cyber Command is "the single most important economic development project for our entire state." Jindal also pledged an additional $7,000,000 to improve Interstate 220 access to the Cyber Innovation Center near Bossier Parish Community College and to ease entry onto the east side of Barksdale Air Force Base.

The Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce is holding a seminar Tuesday to bring together senior military personnel from 8th Air Force headquarters at Barksdale and the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City with leading panelists from industry and academic institutions.

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover has pledged support for LSUS in developing support for the command.

                The Air Force is already using Cyber Command as a recruiting tool:

                Some of the competitors to Barksdale are:

                • Hanscom Air Force Base, 15 miles northwest of Boston, is convenient to Route 128 high-tech firms, Harvard and MIT. It provides worldwide support for the Air Force's Electronic Systems Center.

                • Hampton, Virginia, is only 200 miles from the Pentagon and the nerve centers of U.S. government. It is home to the Air Combat Center and the Air Force Global Cyberspace Integration Center.

                • Pennsylvania would like to host Cyber Command, but no specific location has yet been proposed. Pennsylvania has several Air National Guard installations, but no remaining Air Force bases.

                • Michigan would like to host Cyber Command, but no specific location has yet been proposed. Michigan has several Air National Guard installations, but its Air Force bases closed in the 1990s.

                • Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas is the home of Combat Airlift.

                • Located in southern Illinois near St. Louis, Scott Air Force Base is home to the Air Mobility Command and the Air Force Communications Agency. It's crawling with geeks.

                • Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, is the home of Air University, the Air Force's center for professional military education.

                • Keesler Air Force Base of Biloxi, Mississippi, has a strong tradition of electronics and radar operations. It's a major meteorology center, too: The next storm it tracks could be a network one.

                • Megan Lucas, president of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce in Nebraska, told three reasons to pick her city: "We have the infrastructure, dual power grids and dark fiber."

                • U.S. Rep. (D-Texas) Ciro Rodriguez explains the high-tech acumen of his community: "The robust cyber-security research community ... has transformed the Alamo City into a national leader on the subject."

                • Albuquerque, New Mexico, is home to one of the U.S. Air Force's largest bases. Centrally located and close to high-tech research facilities, it's well-equipped to host Cyber Command.

                • Colorado's Cheyenne Mountain, constructed 600 meters underground, is the former home of NORAD. Currently on warm standby, it could be the perfect place for the Air Force Cyber Command headquarters.

                • Hill Air Force Base is an Air Force Materiel Command base located near Ogden, Utah, about 30 miles from Salt Lake City.

                • Yuba City, California, is 170 miles from Silicon Valley, America's technological heartland.

                Air Force Cyber Command Website

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