Top photo (from left): UTSA President Ricardo Romo, Rep. Bennie
Thompson, CIAS Director Greg White and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez
Bottom photo: Romo, Thompson, Rodriguez, UTSA Interim Provost
Julius Gribou and Ravinderpal Sandhu, holder of the Lutcher Brown
Chair in Computer Science and executive director of the UTSA
Institute for Cyber Security
Congressmen announce $6.4 million CIAS funding
(Jan. 2, 2008)--UTSA President Ricardo Romo hosted a Jan. 2 briefing and announcement at UTSA of $6.4 million in federal funding for the UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) . Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez, D-Texas, who helped secure the funding, and Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, made the announcement.
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"UTSA is honored to host both Congressman Rodriguez and Congressman Thompson and share with them details of the progress that has been made in cyber security research and operations since UTSA began this work in 2003, when San Antonio was the first city in the nation to do a cyber security exercise," said Romo.
"I am proud to have the opportunity to introduce Chairman Thompson to the work being done by UTSA in cyber security," said Rodriguez, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. "We know that if terrorism comes, most likely it will be in cyber space. UTSA is a national leader in this field, and I am committed to supporting and helping to grow the work they are doing to support our nation's homeland security efforts."
CIAS offers training to officials in communities across the nation to help deter, detect and respond to cyber terrorism attacks. The funding package announced today will build on the success of the program by further developing training curriculum and working with more cities to handle cyber security issues.
The funding will expand the center's dark screen exercises in which mock cyber attacks are conducted on computer networks that handle public services such as 911 calls. The first CIAS dark screen exercise was in San Antonio in 2002, and the center now is recognized as a leader in cyber security testing.
The funding will also support the first international exercise for the CIAS in a Texas border community such as El Paso/Juarez.
Following the UTSA visit, the congressmen were briefed at the San Antonio-Bexar County Emergency Operations Center at Brooks City-Base and met with border community officials and law enforcement representatives.
Established in June 2001, CIAS is the research and operational component of the UTSA Information Assurance program. CIAS leads San Antonio's charge to become the national center for homeland security issues. The center is part of Department of Homeland Security efforts to address national security needs by using existing resources and cultivating new talent in the cyber security field. In March 2002, UTSA was designated a "National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance" by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The San Antonio-Bexar County Emergency Operations Center combines emergency management offices in a new 35,000-square-foot joint-use facility. The facility houses city, county, regional, state and federal departments and personnel to gather, evaluate and distribute critical information and implement responses during emergencies.
For more information, contact Adrian Saenz, Office of Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, at (202) 251-8321.