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Mississippi Cyber Center now open in Gulfport

Mississippi Cyber Center
Photo courtesy of Mississippi State University

The Mississippi Cyber Center has officially opened on the Gulf Coast.

Located in a renovated building on the MGCCC Harrison County Campus, the Mississippi Cyber Center houses initial capabilities established as part of the Mississippi Cyber Initiative. The building contains three different labs that support law enforcement, training at the Keesler Air Force Base, and MGCCC.

“This new endeavor is an outstanding opportunity for us to put Mississippi at the forefront of cybersecurity in the nation and world,” MGCCC President Mary S. Graham said. “Preparing students and our military to meet the challenges in the ever-changing cyber domain is going to bring security and stability that is much needed in today’s world.”

Established in 2021, the Mississippi Cyber Initiative is a statewide effort to broaden the state’s capabilities and coordination in cybersecurity. The initiative grew out of MSU’s support for cyber activities at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, a major training hub for the U.S. Air Force. MCI is leveraging collective expertise among academia, the private sector, federal and local government, law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Mississippi National Guard.

“The complexity of scenarios we face in defending our nation requires cooperative and innovative partnerships with our local, state and federal partners to protect the U.S. National security interests,” Col. Laura King, 81st Training Group commander said. “Today’s partnership with the Mississippi Cyber Center, a part of the overall Mississippi Cyber Initiative, will be one of Keesler’s greatest assets as we continue to partner, collaborate and innovate with our teammates across the state and nation.”

Utilizing an initial state investment of $3.5 million, the Mississippi Cyber Initiative has worked to build collaborations, assess stakeholder needs and develop the Mississippi Cyber Center, which currently serves as the initiative’s headquarters.

The building contains a Digital Forensics Lab that is assisting 15 law enforcement agencies as they carry out investigations with a digital device component. The lab was established after identifying unmet demand from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation for forensics investigation support and equipment. The building’s Systems Operations Lab houses a new training platform that supports Keesler’s network administrator training and MGCCC workforce development programs.

MCI has a long-term plan that includes expanding capabilities at the MGCCC facility and building a larger facility on the Gulf Coast, known as the Mississippi Cyber and Technology Center, to serve as MCI headquarters. The Mississippi Cyber and Technology Center will serve as the hub for a robust network of statewide partners, offering a coordination site for cyber training and threat mitigation efforts, as well as space for collaboration with private sector companies.

“The Mississippi Cyber Initiative continues to build strong momentum,” Jim Martin, MCI lead and MSU associate vice president for economic development and corporate engagement stated. “We have taken a very deliberate approach of listening to stakeholders to determine specific needs and now we are standing up capabilities to address those needs in a way that benefits the entire state. We could not do this ourselves, so I greatly appreciate everyone that has been a part of this initiative.”

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