The success of this year’s TechNet cybersecurity trade show is an exciting prelude to the sharp growth the Augusta area will see in a booming cyber-spurred economy, Fort Gordon’s commander said Thursday.
TechNet, which wrapped up Thursday afternoon, brought thousands of tech professionals to Augusta to learn and share ideas and innovations in the field of cybersecurity – the practice of protecting computers and electronic data against criminal or unauthorized use.
“These kinds of forums are absolutely critical,” said Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., Fort Gordon’s commanding general. “It brings together industry with military in an open forum where we can collaborate and share ideas, because we all have the same problem when it comes to cybersecurity. And the reality of it is, we want to leverage industry innovation to increase our capabilities. And we want to learn from each other.”
Morrison said he is seeing and feeling how the Augusta area is becoming the bustling center of Army cyber operations.
“In just three short years, Army Cyber Command will be down here in total,” he said. “They’re already here with a forward presence, and it is just an exciting time. And it’s going to mean a lot not only to Fort Gordon, but it’s going to mean a lot to the entire community.”
Cyber Command currently is at Fort Belvoir, Va. Col. Todd Turner, Fort Gordon’s garrison commander, said the Cyber Command’s move to Augusta will bring about 4,000 personnel and their families to the area. He said that for every cyber job coming in, 2.3 other jobs are created through the new residents’ consumer activity.
Morrison said the trade show attracted about 20 percent more attendees and about 15 percent more exhibitors than last year’s event, and he sees that trend continuing.
The growth of TechNet reflects the growth of the Army’s cyber mission at Fort Gordon in just the past year.
For the first time, the Army has a codified doctrine, Field Manual 3-12, detailing organizationally how it will fight battles in cyberspace. Also, training in Cyber Mission Force units has been extended to enlisted personnel. The first class of enlisted cyber operations specialists graduated from Fort Gordon’s Army Cyber School on Tuesday.
“For all those in the local Augusta area, you can start seeing that it really is becoming the center of the universe for Army cyber,” Morrison said.
Reach Joe Hotchkiss at (706) 823-3543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.