Bases compete for Cyber Command

Air Force bases in five states are competing to become the permanent headquarters for the Air Force's new Cyber Command created in November 2006.

The Cyber Command's mission is to deter and protect against cyberspace attacks on military computer systems and networks. The center is expected to bring in about 500 Air Force jobs and potentially millions of dollars in economic impact. It also is expected to generate work for federal contractors and systems integrators to support the center's mission.

The Cyber Command is located temporarily at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., where local officials and Gov. Bobby Jindal are proposing to build an office park nearby to help promote Barksdale as a permanent home. Several major federal contractors have pledged support as sponsors of the office park.

Barksdale is in competition for the cybercenter with at least four other Air Force bases: Peterson in Colorado, Keesler in Mississippi, Offutt in Nebraska and Langley in Virginia, according to media reports.

The Air Force is reviewing applications and expects to release a list of finalists next month, said spokesman Ed Gulick. "We want to ensure that we do this right, and so we are taking the time necessary to make the best choice to support the mission."

The Cyber Command is scheduled to move to its permanent location in October.

Jindal this week pledged $50 million in state funds to help create the Cyber Innovation Center and National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City near the Barksdale base to help attract the Air Force facility.

"Attacks on Internet targets, such as financial markets and government computer systems, will be how the Cyber Cold War is waged. The Cyber Innovation Center will bring together academia, defense contractors, research and technology to assist the Department of Defense on this new cyber battlefield," Craig Spohn, director of the new center, said in a news release.

Sponsors of the new research park include American Electric Power, Northrop Grumman Corp., IBM Corp., General Dynamics Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Tandberg Data Corp., Accenture LLC, Force 10 Networks Inc. and Symantec Corp.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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