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Huntsville briefs second U.S. technology leader in push for bigger role in national cybersecurity
Leaders of Huntsville's push to put the city at the center of the American government's future cyber security plans briefed their second national technology leader in a month this week.
Dr. Willie May, acting director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was briefed on the city's potential and current activities during a regional workshop on cybersecurity at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. May, whose agency sets standards for technological services and products, requested the briefing.
The workshop and briefing came the same week Boeing began work on a 7,000-square-foot research center specializing in cybersecurity and other technical modeling. It also came a month after Robert Cardillo, the new director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), made one of his first trips since taking office to Huntsville for another briefing on the city's workforce and capabilities.
May was told Thursday that Huntsville's Redstone Arseneal "is the center of gravity for the security of our country," according to a UAH account of the briefing. Both the briefing and workshop were closed to reporters. Lott said federal agencies and commands on the base have spent the last five years on coordinated efforts to improve cyber security in the nation's defense systems.
Cyber Huntsville is one of three new non-profit organizations formed by Mayor Tommy Battle's administration to boost cyber economic growth in the Tennessee Valley region. A related organization, GEO Huntsville, met with Cardillo. Energy Huntsville is the third organization.
"Innovation is crucial to us," Mike Ward, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville-Madison County, told May. He said Huntsville ranks 10th in the nation in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards and has the highest concentration of engineers in the United States.