Fort Gordon cyber center up to Congress

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 4:56 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 12:14 AM
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The decision to consolidate all U.S. cyberspace training into a new center of excellence at Fort Gordon rests in the hands of Congress, the Army post’s commanding general said Tuesday at a national technology conference in Augusta.

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Flanked by a giant poster, Rob Orlando (left), of Dell, talks to Army Capt. Kenneth W. Demars during TechNet Augusta.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Flanked by a giant poster, Rob Orlando (left), of Dell, talks to Army Capt. Kenneth W. Demars during TechNet Augusta.

Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Pat­terson could not speak in detail about the restructuring plan that could bring more than 1,500 soldiers to Fort Gordon to learn the secrets of tracking electromagnetic activity worldwide, but said the Army is onboard with the effort.

The commander gave the keynote address at TechNet Au­gusta, a three-day conference by the Interna­tional Armed Forces Communi­ca­tions and Electronics Asso­cia­tion that has more than 2,000 people and 140 exhibitors in town to develop ways to connect troops through enhanced technology, command and control functions.

“Not that I’m trying to sell anything or use this stage as a public-service-announcement podium, but should the Army make a decision on where a Cyber Center of Ex­cel­lence should go, my vote is here,” Patterson said. “The footprint is clearly in place.”

Patterson said he feels confident Fort Gordon can win the support it needs to earn the designation. Still, he said there are no signs the deal will be inked and that a vote before Congress will not happen until at least after the debate over military action in Syria is resolved.

Patterson said designating the post as a Cyber Center of Excellence would mark one of the most significant reorganizations in U.S. intelligence and generate major growth for the region.

Cen­ters of excellence chiefs can collaborate or coordinate outside the confines of their station, Patter­son said.

Patterson said Fort Gor­don is home to 1,350 sailors, 800 airmen and 150 Marines working on initiatives and teaching cyber intelligence classes in support of the Na­tional Security Agency’s Geor­gia Cryptology Center, which opened in March 2012.

Patterson said Fort Gor­don has more inline brigades than any other post or station in the Army and is a senior partner with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Trinity Hospital and Georgia Regents University.

“As the Army tries to revamp and rebuild itself for 2020 and beyond, it is important that we keep up with the needs of the enterprise that support the war fighter,” Patterson said.

He asked manufacturers to make equipment simpler to enable soldiers and commanders to move and react quicker.

As the Army draws down 80,000 soldiers by 2017, Patterson said, he will have to reduce force structure and pay grades at Fort Gordon.

“What we do in the signal regiment in terms of staying on the cutting edge of (information technology) is very complex and complicated,” Patterson said. “We need to find a sweet spot as to how far can I go down the grade until I break into experience and knowledge. Can I trust a captain to do what a major used to do?”

Lt. Gen. John A. Dubia, the executive vice president of the International Armed Forces Communications and Elec­tronics Association and a former field artillery officer, said local leaders designed Tech­Net to foster discussions among decision-makers in military communications.

“Events such as this will build the bench of the future and get into the hands of the war fighter what he or she needs regardless of service or ally,” Dubia said. “Education changes all the rules and that is what AFCEA is all about.”

Augusta Mayor Deke Co­pen­haver said the sight of the new convention center in use excited him and showed the city, ranked second last year in technology job growth, was built for innovation.

“We have great things going on in the city of Augusta,” the mayor said.

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countyman 09/10/13 - 07:06 pm
High tech growth

This type of development is MUCH bigger than just Augusta or Richmond County. Local and state officials should be fighting everyday to make sure Augusta wins out.

The Cyber Command would be extremely huge for metro Augusta and the CSRA. Government officials from every single part of the metro area & CSRA need to be working together.

The NSA is already located on Fort Gordon, and the city ranked second in high tech job growth between 2006-2011. Rural Sourcing is located in the Enterprise Mill near the CBD, and the CEO said the company could someday reach 200-300 employees. The Augusta Hackathon continues to grow, and Southpoint Media opened their new office in the Enterprise Mill in June.

Augusta is clearly the next Raleigh/San Francisco-San Jose, Austin, Seattle, etc because we have all the right ingredients. Think about the amount of private growth that would relocate to Gordon Hwy, Jimmie Dyess, Deans Bridge, and Tobacco rd near Fort Gordon.

Riverman1 09/11/13 - 06:12 am
Ft. Gordon and MCG

Ft. Gordon can put on this event every year. It's one of the legitimate uses for the TEE Center. They have to have it somewhere and the TEE is perfect to get them away from the fort. The yearly conference is always going to be in Augusta. Most of those attending the meeting are from Ft. Gordon as evidenced by the uniforms.

The other main local entity that can utilize the TEE with conferences drawing outsiders is MCG. They have various specialties that could sponsor conferences. Work with these two local stalwarts and you will have a couple of actual conventions locked in yearly.

countyman 09/11/13 - 12:27 pm
The majority of people at the

The majority of people at the TechNet Convention aren't from Fort Gordon, and for example had over 100 different companies..

Hopefully some of these companies will relocate to Augusta.

GnipGnop 09/11/13 - 03:07 pm
Yeah, cause nothing says move here

more than a slum designation...

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