A leader in cyber security
What makes Sierra Vista different from all of the other communities that profess to be a cyber hub? Well, many talk about it but we are actually doing it. Our entire community from the military to education, from government, to industry are participating in growing Sierra Vista’s and Southeast Arizona’s cybersecurity cluster. We are making strides that will soon establish us as a west-coast leader in the industry. Want to know how? See our efforts below.
Military and Cyber Superiority
As the headquarters of the Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) 9th Signal Command and hosting the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, Fort Huachuca is at the cutting edge of Army’s growing cyber security missions. NETCOM is a major subordinate of the U.S. Army Cyber Command located in Fort Gordon, Georgia and is key to ensuring the Army’s global network enterprise is maintained and protected. The Fort also hosts the Army Intelligence Center and teaches the doctrine, procedures and skills for the intelligence support to all cyber operations in the Army and Department of Defense. Battles are not only fought with soldiers and weapons, as threats to the nation’s electronic information are becoming more and more prevalent cyber warfare is critical to future success. As a result, NETCOM, the Army Intelligence Agency and the many civilian contractors in Sierra Vista that support the Army’s cybersecurity efforts are more critical now than ever before.
University of Arizona, Sierra Vista
The University of Arizona, Sierra Vista, is launching their Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Operations this school year. The Center will offer a Bachelors of Applied Science (BAS) degree that will incorporate learning, research, certificates and internships. The curriculum is currently undergoing National Security Agency (NSA) accreditation. When received, the University be one of the handful of learning institutions that are accredited by the NSA.
With the benefit of starting from the ground up, the University has been developing a learning atmosphere that is cutting edge. Its platform will incorporate a virtual environment that will include two components. The first is a cloud-based computing network that will support the courses. It can be accessed from any computer or mobile device connected to the internet. This has the potential to change significantly the way content is delivered to students in all delivery modes.
The second component is a database mimicking the digital footprint of a virtual community called CyberApolis with some 15,000 residents, along with a web presence for businesses, utilities, government agencies, and social media activity for each of the community’s residents. CyberApolis is fundamental to the development of innovative hands-on coursework designed around network protection, hacking, and cyber forensics.
Additionally The University will house a multi-locational Internet of Things (IOT) Lab. With three separate sites, data will be feed to the Lab located at the campus and will allow students and businesses to work together conducting research. Forensic labs and a Capture the Flag Arena will also be incorporated.
Cochise College has been delivering information security and cybersecurity-related curriculum for over a decade via their Associates of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity. The two-year degree offers classes to prepare students to enter the cybersecurity workforce or continue on to a bachelor’s program. In addition to fundamental courses, students take heavily hands-on classes in Scripting, Linux, Mobile Security, Network Defense, Computer Forensics, and Practical Applications in Cybersecurity. The College maintains three advanced technical labs and partners closely with the University of Arizona, Sierra Vista. Cochise College will be host to one of the Internet of Things (IOT) Labs.
In Sierra Vista, we start early. The local CyberPatriot teams routinely punch above their weight class in the Air Force Association’s annual network defense competition ever since the Buena High School team finished second in the nation in 2010. Since then, local schools have led the state in fielding highly-performing CyberPatriot teams at both the high school and middle school levels. Cochise College has taken an active role in mentoring students interested in the cyber field. Each year, the community’s Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Club sponsors a competition called Computer Challenge (formerly Computer Olympics). High school, middle school, and elementary school students from the Cochise County area compete to see who is the best of the best. In the summer, Cochise College also hosts cyber camps for the area students, training them in cyber along with creating an environment of ethical hacking.
The cybersecurity field relies on certificated programs to gage competency in the field. The University of Arizona along with Advance Business Learning (ABL) support these requirements. Both provide programs in Sierra Vista.
The University of Arizona offers information assurance, security, networking and other aspects of Information Technology along with personalized courses built specifically for industry requirements.
Advance Business Learning offers course in cybersecurity, leadership as well as sales and customer service.
The University of Arizona’s Defense and Security Institute (DSRI)and the City of Sierra Vista have established a partnership to mutually explore opportunities to conduct research that would address the needs of customers in the national security and defense communities that would leverage the resources of UA/DSRI and the Sierra Vista community. Areas of potential collaboration include: cybersecurity; unmanned systems; and intelligence collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination systems.
Testing & Certification
Fort Huachuca located in Sierra Vista offers third-party testing to companies that would like to validate their technology. There are two primary testing centers located within the Post.
As part of the Department of Defense Major Range and Test Facility Base, Fort Huachuca serves as key partner in intelligence electronic warfare testing. The irreplaceable U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground (EPG) at Fort Huachuca provides critical services to Army program managers, joint services, other military services, foreign governments, national agencies, and U.S. industry. This mission is possible through the unique climate and federally protected airspace at Fort Huachuca. Here, aggressive, offensive electronic warfare/jamming and global positioning systems testing is conducted— the only U.S. location where such extensive testing is possible, thanks to southeast Arizona’s geography and altitude, as well as state and federal mandates protecting both the airspace and electronic range. Private businesses can conduct both developmental and operational EPG testing at the Post.
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