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Marshall University and partners establish a National Center of Excellence for Cybersecurity in Critical Infrastructure to be located in West Virginia

Marshall University, in collaboration with the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN), U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and West Virginia University, are working together to establish a National Center of Excellence for Cyber Security in Critical Infrastructure in West Virginia.

In support of the partnership, Marshall plans to develop a state-of-the-art Information Technology and Operational Technology Security Operations Center and Collaborative Cyber Resiliency Laboratory. In part, the center and lab will be modeled after the JFHQ-DODIN Operations Center, which is the hub of command and control of the Department of Defense’s complex cyber battlespace.

“We are grateful for JFHQ-DODIN and USCYBERCOM’s involvement in helping develop the security operations center, research lab and assistance in shaping our curriculum for the 21st century workforce. Together with our private sector partners, we are the architects of a learning environment and research laboratory that strategically intersects information technology and operational technology to advance our collective capabilities,” said Marshall University President Brad D. Smith.

According to Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, the commander of JFHQ-DODIN, the partnership will enable numerous collateral opportunities for the near and long-term. This includes promoting STEM careers within the DoD, the exchange of expertise among partners, and deep research on tough issues associated with protecting and operationalizing the security and defense of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

“We look forward to sharing our lessons learned and experiences in the command and control of a complex federated environment. In this environment, dozens of organizations are responsible and accountable for their own operations and outcomes but must work collectively in a unified approach for speed and resiliency,” Skinner said.

Holly Baroody, executive director of CYBERCOM, said the partnership is a prime example of what was envisioned with the Academic Engagement Network.

“The research and innovation fostered through academia is foundational to our success. We’re excited to build this partnership with Marshall University and West Virginia University to create new solutions for reducing risk to our critical infrastructure from cyber threats,” she said.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Marshall University operations center is planned for early next year. A connected sister operations center at West Virginia University is under development.


Additional quotes:

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

“This partnership project focuses on helping to improve the national security and infrastructure,” Capito said. “The center of excellence’s unique capability will be designed to better prepare government, the private sector, and others to protect the labyrinth of systems that are the foundation of our economy and way of life.”


U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

“The most exciting part of this initiative is that it focuses on long-term investment in people – people who will defend our federal and private sector critical infrastructure in cyberspace,” Manchin said.