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Marshall University, state and federal partners break ground for Institute for Cyber Security 

Lt. General Robert J. Skinner, JFHQ-DoDIN, serves as special guest 
Officials with Marshall University, West Virginia University and the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network, a component of the United States Cyber Command, among other government, academic and industry partners, today broke ground on the $45-million Marshall University Institute for Cyber Security, located at the corner of Hal Greer Boulevard and Fourth Avenue in Huntington.  

The groundbreaking event symbolizes the initial strides in establishing the National Center of Excellence for Cyber Security in Critical Infrastructure, hailed as the second center of its type in the country on a college campus. 

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith said Marshall University and its partners are poised to create one of the world’s most critical centers for cyber security. 

“We stand at a pivotal moment in history for our university, the state of West Virginia, our country and the world as we embark on this transformative journey,” Smith said. “Through this center, we will develop advanced techniques, tools and methodologies to protect infrastructure and assets, as well as educate the next generation of cyber experts.”  

Lt. General Robert J. Skinner, commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (DoDIN), said the facility and its operations will enable numerous opportunities for the future.  

“This Center of Excellence will be physically housed within the Marshall University Institute for Cyber Security with another physical location at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia,” Skinner said. “This partnership expands our ability to examine shared critical infrastructure issues and create solutions to strengthen national security while helping to shape the Department of Defense cyber workforce through research, training, and collaborative initiatives.  This project is now the epicenter for answering our nation’s call to ensure our men and women in uniform can properly defend this country from our adversaries in cyberspace.” 

Marshall University officials praised the collaborative support of U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Legislature, among others for their collective efforts to see the center to this point.  

Their dedication underscores the power of collaboration in advancing critical initiatives that safeguard our digital infrastructure and pave the way for a more secure future,” Smith said.  

Capito, who spoke at the groundbreaking, said partnerships are key to successful innovation.  

When I first came to the U.S. Senate, I met with leaders at Marshall University to discuss areas that their institution could focus on, and cyber security was an area of great interest. For years, I have worked as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to direct resources towards Marshall to help this emphasis grow, and that has led to the dedication we celebrated today. The Institute for Cyber Security and National Center of Excellence for Cyber Security in Critical Infrastructure will bolster our cyber security workforce, both now and in the future, and will make West Virginia a hub for cyber security protection of our country’s most critical assets. I’m proud to have played a role in making this possible,” Capito said.

The facility will be approximately 78,000 square feet and house a state-of-the-art operations center modeled after JFHQ-DODIN Headquarters in Fort Meade, MD. The facility will also feature 13 labs, among which will be six cybersecurity labs for training purposes, an industrial control systems lab, an internet of things lab and an open-source intelligence lab.

Located directly across Hal Greer Boulevard from the university’s Old Main, the building will serve as the west gateway to the Fourth Avenue Innovation corridor, currently under development by Fairmount Properties.    

It is estimated there are more than 500,000 cyber security job openings in the United States alone. 

The center at Marshall will be focused on protecting vital infrastructure, while there will be a connected sister operations center at West Virginia University in Morgantown.  

 Additional quotes:  

“The defense of our country’s critical infrastructure is among our strongest priorities, and this institute is exactly what our national security community needs.  Today’s groundbreaking will help ensure Marshall University and our entire state are leading the charge in developing a robust national cyber workforce, and I’m so proud of the incredible efforts, both public and private, that have gone into its establishment. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, I strongly advocated for its creation because I know there is no place better prepared to ensure its success than West Virginia, and I can’t wait to see it come to life.”

~U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin

“Marshall University continues to expand their offerings to their students and solidify their position as a leading institution here in West Virginia and around the world. In an age that is becoming increasingly digital, it is exciting to see Marshall University adapt to these changes and take the lead alongside our Department of Defense Information Network in protecting our nation from rising cybersecurity threats with this incredible new Institute of Cyber Security. While this field is seeing huge demand and employment opportunities, Marshall University students will have the ability to learn from this new curriculum and expand their horizons.”

~U.S. Rep. Carol Miller

“Today is a proud moment for Marshall University and all of West Virginia as we break ground on this cutting-edge cyber security institute,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said. This institute will give our students everything they need to become trailblazers in the growing cybersecurity industry, and the best part is they can do it all right here in our backyard. I cannot wait to see the success this brings as our state remains a leader in this exciting career path.” 

~ Gov. Jim Justice  

 “We’ve seen in recent years that some of the biggest threats to our national security come in the form of cyber-attacks. Technology advances rapidly, and cybersecurity professionals must be prepared. I am excited that Marshall University will now be at the forefront with training these professionals to protect and defend our critical information and data networks.” 

~West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair

“As we prepare for a 21st century society, we must be prepared to deal with 21st century challenges, including the threats and opportunities that come with life in a cyber world. For generations, West Virginians have answered the call to defend our nation, and we continue to do just that as Marshall University trains the next generation of cybersecurity professionals to protect America’s technology, data and critical infrastructure. I’m proud to know the work being done in this state and right here at Marshall University is preparing the nation and the world for the 21st century.” 

~West Virginia Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw  

“West Virginia University is focused on finding, supporting and expanding programs that will truly elevate the educational experience for our students and as the state’s flagship R1 university, we are committed to serving communities and addressing their most pressing challenges. This program and the WVU Cybersecurity Lab are a key part of our land-grant mission putting us at the leading edge of developing the future cyber workforce.” 

~West Virginia University President Gordon Gee 

We have been helping to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure for many years through existing partnerships with the military departments, defense information systems, cyber security agencies and many others partners.  We are proud and honored to be a part of this Marshall University Institute for Cyber Security.”

~Brig. Gen. Michael Cadle, West Virginia Air National Guard






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