Region Sets Target on Cybersecurity & Defense Industry Opportunities
South Central Indiana Economic Development (SCIED) representatives recently attended one of the nation’s largest information security conferences, Black Hat USA 2019, to meet with cybersecurity company representatives about opportunities to establish operations in Southern Indiana. The primary message? Cybersecurity companies, along with those engaged in defense, engineering, and testing operations, can enjoy access to Southern Indiana’s unique cyber and defense assets, chief among them the one of a kind Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex (MUTC), which is also home to the NSA-recognized Ivy Tech Community College Cyber Academy.
“Companies are surprised to learn that they can gain private access to Muscatatuck’s 1,000 acres of play space, including 200 brick and mortar structures, managed airspace, a 180-acre reservoir, 1.5 miles of tunnels, and a cyber ‘live-fire range’ that supports offensive and defensive operations,” said Kathy Ertel, Executive Director of Jennings County EDC and one of the founding members of the Southern Indiana Defense Industry Network (SIDIN). “For example, if a cybersecurity or defense industry company wants to test hacking a municipal water system, prison cell, hospital or other urban environment, or if they’d like to test drone or robotic operations in various electromagnetic conditions, they can do all that and more here at the Muscatatuck.”
According to published reports, Atterbury-Muscatatuck is a State of Indiana and U.S. Department of Defense collaborative enterprise focused on creating and operating a highly realistic, contemporary and developmental testing environment in which joint, interagency, intergovernmental, multi-national and non-governmental entities can prepare for deployment. In total, the Atterbury-Muscatatuck complex encompass more than 35,000 acres of training and maneuver space across three counties, and MUTC offers users a globally unique, urban and rural, multi-domain operating environment that is recognized as the U.S. Department of Defense’s largest urban training facility.
Users indicate that MUTC offers a well-integrated cyber-physical environment dubbed the CyberTropolis, that also includes an electromagnetic effects system and human elements. It offers realistic, flexible and affordable training and testing scenarios for military, civilian, and private sector users. The site also supports customized live/virtual/constructive-gaming (LVC-G) training, developmental testing and evaluation.
South Central Indiana Economic Development (SCIED) and Southern Indiana Defense Industry Network (SIDIN) members work jointly with State of Indiana, DOD, Indiana National Guard, and other partners like the National Center for Complex Operations, to connect companies with these unique defense & cybersecurity industry assets.
“Companies engaged in prototyping, testing, and evaluating cyber & electronic warfare systems, sensors & robotics, as well as unmanned air, ground, and water systems, can all benefit from our regional assets,” said Jason Hester, president of Greater Columbus Indiana EDC and member of both SCIED and SIDIN. “We’re also very excited about the Ivy Tech Cyber Academy and other regional higher education programs at IUPUC (Indiana University Purdue University of Columbus) and Purdue Polytechnic Institute of Columbus, who are equipping students with skills and knowledge that are needed by these types of companies.”
SCIED representatives note that the Ivy Tech Community College Cyber Academy at MUTC allows graduates to earn in just 11 months an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Cybersecurity while at the same time gaining industry-recognized credentials in cybersecurity, including A+ (CompTIA), Security+ (CompTIA), and CCENT (Cisco). According to Ivy Tech, the school is also designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Education by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency (NSA).
“When you match the unique physical defense and cyber assets found at Atterbury-Muscatatuck with relevant higher education training programs, we have a strong case to present to cybersecurity and defense industry companies for why they should invest and grow in South Central Indiana,” said Hester.
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