The Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce has been awarded two grants from the State of Florida to assist in the development of a cyber "battle lab" at the Navy's Center for Information Dominance (CID) at Corry Station.
The lab will host cyber attack simulations used for training defense tactics in an effort to better secure both public and private network system security in the event of cyber attacks.
"When we talk about cyber warfare we're talking about a lot of different things, including space-based systems that can knock out communications satellites. When we train for battle, we establish ranges where we go and drop bombs and conduct war games. That's what we're talking about here, creating a battle lab where we can conduct cyber war games," said retired Admiral Bob Kelly.
The state-funded grants also demonstrate progress in the public/private partnership necessary to further cyber defense efforts in the face of growing threats from cybercrime, hacktivism, and state sponsored digital espionage trends.
"This enterprise is another example of how the State of Florida, the local community and the military are working together to help keep our nation safer and more secure," said Capt. Gary Edwards, commanding officer at the CID.
Representatives of the Chamber of Commerce see a bright economic future in developing the cybersecurity services market, attracting more investment and quality jobs to the area.
"These grants will help create a new asset here in Pensacola. It is a high-tech asset that many people and cities would love to have. They are the seeds to help CID become the best cyber warfare training lab in world, and it will attract private sector investment and the best and brightest minds to Pensacola," said the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce vice president for armed services, Craig Dalton.
When completed, the CID lab will focus on protecting networks critical to both national security and the nation's economy, such as transportation networks, financial systems, healthcare operations, and infrastructure in the event of cyberwar.
"The next war could be one where not a single bomb is dropped. Why would they if another country could take down our financial system, or shut down commercial aviation for two weeks? The scary part is there are folks who spend all day trying to do just that," Dalton said.