The Army Cyber Command is planning to begin construction of a new headquarters on Fort Gordon in 2016 and move about 660 of its employees to the Augusta area starting the next year, its chief of staff said Friday.
Col. Scott Sanborn said 280 military personnel and 380 civilian staff at Cyber Command were notified Thursday that they would be moving after the Army announced it had selected Fort Gordon as the corps new permanent home.
Sanborn said his staff has yet to receive much feedback from the workforce on the consolidation, which is expected to occur between 2017 and 2020, but added it is anticipated that his employees will respond favorably.
At the moment, the 21,000 soldiers and civilians that plan, coordinate and conduct cyber command operations in defense of all Army networks worldwide are split between seven buildings in the Washington, D.C., area at forts Meade and Belvoir.
“We understand that there is probably going to be a range of emotions with this move, but I think generally there will be a positive response,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for the Army.”
In addition to relocating the command, the Army will establish a standing joint task force and a provisional cyber center of excellence on the post. Each effort will be led by a three-star general.
Sanborn said command leadership has initiated plans for headquarter design and location and is developing a plan to transition the workforce. In all, the consolidation is expected to bring 1,500 active-duty military, government civilian and contract personnel jobs to the Augusta area.
The command has laid out five plans to either construct or renovate existing buildings at Fort Gordon for a new 179,000-square-foot facility at Whitelaw Hall or on parcels situated along Kilbourne, 15th, 19th or 22nd streets.
“The new cyber center of excellence and the synergy it creates is one of the key drivers for why Fort Gordon was seen as a great location for us to conduct our mission much more effectively, better develop our doctrine and train our future leaders,” Sanborn said.
The Augusta Economic Development Authority met Friday to strategize how to identify suppliers and contractors who might now be targeting a move to the area.
Executive Director Walter Sprouse said the organization has already printed marketing material for recruitment and made contact with 18 defense contractors who expressed interest in coming to Augusta earlier this year if Fort Gordon became the new home of the Army Cyber Command.
“Not only is it great news for Fort Gordon, but as far as the Augusta Economic Development Authority is concerned, it puts us into a different gear in recruiting companies,” Sprouse said.
In August, the authority sent its newly hired project manager, Scott Poag, to attend defense contract meetings statewide and establish communications with industry leaders.
“What I anticipate is a pretty good search of buildings in and around the fort to handle the expected military companies who have or are seeking contracts with the Defense Department and its cyber efforts,” Sprouse said. “The ball is rolling and we are expected to become really busy and quickly.”