Louisiana state government plans to establish a “major cybersecurity center” in Baton Rouge alongside LSU experts and a private defense contractor, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday.
At the Louisiana Cyber Coordination Center, or LC3, Louisiana National Guard cybersecurity professionals will work alongside peers from Stephenson Technologies Corp., an LSU research affiliate, and Huntsville, Ala.-based Radiance Technologies.
“If you had told me four years ago that we’d be doing this, my eyes would have glazed over,” Edwards said.
But recent ransomware attacks on school districts in Louisiana and elsewhere have helped to underline the need for a coordinated response to cyberattacks, he said.
The center will be housed at the Water Campus next to the Mississippi River just south of downtown. The state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority headquarters, the LSU Center for River Studies, the Water Institute of the Gulf, the Center for Coastal & Deltaic Solutions, and the Baton Rouge engineering and design office of Stantec, a private firm, already are housed at the Water Campus.
State government will provide $1.5 million through Louisiana Economic Development to build out the existing 11,000 square feet to meet government standards. Also through LED, $500,000 in additional funds will support lease payments for up to five years. Other partners in the project will provide up to $250,000 for facility operations, Edwards’ office says.
Public and private investment in the Water Campus totals $107 million, officials said.
When fully realized, officials say, LC3 will support cyber-related missions at military installations in Louisiana, such as Fort Polk’s Joint Readiness Training Center and Barksdale Air Force Base’s Global Strike Command. The facility also is expected to play a key role in responding to civilian cyberattacks on schools, other government institutions, and private workplaces.
Stephenson Technologies Corp. is a nonprofit affiliate of LSU and a federal contractor that works for the U.S. Department of Defense, the federal Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community and other federal markets. Though owned by LSU, STC operates as a standalone corporation that conducts in-depth research on cybersecurity initiatives.
For Department of Defense customers, Radiance Technologies provides advanced software tool development, modeling and simulation tool and capability development, and embedded system software development. Most of Radiance’s work in Louisiana focuses on the cybersecurity and physical security of Department of Defense weapon systems and critical U.S. infrastructure, officials said.