Thursday, June 20, 2024

Spohn: CIC is securing our future today

by BIZ Magazine

For the past 14 years, Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) has been the catalyst for growth right here in our region. CIC and its partners are blessed to continue this endeavor thanks to the continued support of Louisiana’s congressional delegation.

During this appropriation cycle, Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy secured $8M that will further the Air Force’s technology transfer and transition partnership between CIC and Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).

This hard work by our congressional delegation will allow CIC to continue its efforts as the Command’s persistent technology transfer, technology transition, and innovation resource.

Previous year’s investment from the Louisiana delegation has allowed the CIC to create solutions that resulted in a $200M+ savings to the Air Force. In addition, a futuristic personal communication technology is under development for Airmen thanks to this funding.

The congressional delegation investment has also provided for development of a revolutionary air refueling trainer for the B-52 aircraft that is estimated to save $4 million per year in costs.

Plans for the new fiscal year will see CIC use the FY23 appropriations to create next generation training technology for three areas within Air Force Global Strike Command.

Specifically, these trainers will impact the B-52 bomber aircraft, the E-4B aircraft, and explosive ordinance disposal.

This support will also further the millions of dollars in local economic impact CIC events produce annually. It will also support design sprints that have so far resulted in nearly $150,000 of yearly savings for the Air Force and improved morale by solving problems Airmen face every day.

The continued support of Senators Cassidy and Kennedy is allowing CIC to produce remarkable outcomes in support of AFGSC. With the new appropriation, and we look forward to additional opportunities to support the AFGSC mission with additional cost savings and efficiencies.

In addition to its work with the Command, CIC is the anchor of the National Cyber Research Park (NCRP), and we work with our partners in Louisiana Tech University to build a knowledge-based workforce. This is accomplished by promoting research, education, and technological innovation and fostering collaborative and strategic alliances between governmental agencies, private industry, and academic institutions.

Cybersecurity education plays a crucial role in our workforce development efforts for the future of our state and our country. CIC recently received $6.8M from Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for K-12 cybersecurity education, plus a $2M investment from the State of Louisiana for developing a Cyber Range for K-12 students.

The CIC and NCRP have been blessed with tremendous success in helping our local economy, leading noted economist Dr. Loren Scott to call the NCRP an “economic gem.”

A report by Dr. Scott’s states that the NCRP has contributed more than 2,100 jobs with employee earnings of $122.9M. Regionally, the NCRP has annually generated $154.5M in new business sales, $148.2M in new household earnings, and $6.7M in new revenues for regional government.

It is a journey that has required a long-term investment and perseverance by CIC and NCRP partners, city and parish officials, the State of Louisiana, and our congressional delegation.

Their support of our workforce development and national defense innovation efforts is crucial as we continue our ongoing mission to enrich the lives of those in northwest Louisiana.

Craig Spohn is president/executive director of Cyber Innovation Center

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