JUNE 29, 2021 — Lt. Gen. Timothy D. Haugh, 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander, recently met with government, academia, and industry partners to witness innovation aimed to protect our nation’s cybersecurity during a visit to the UTSA National Security Collaboration Center.
Currently operating on the UTSA Main Campus, the NSCC’s ecosystem is comprised of more than 60 partners, including the 16th Air Force, collaborating on research, education, and workforce development. Given the NSCC’s formal partnerships with both the U.S. Air Force and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Haugh’s visit was part of ongoing efforts between the organizations.
“The NSCC deliberately and seamlessly link technical innovation through foundational and applied research and development to support the 16th Air Force, the Department of Defense and national security,” said retired Gen. Guy Walsh, founding executive director of the UTSA National Security Collaboration Center.
The NSCC provides a unique environment where industry, government, and academic partners collaborate in world-class facilities addressing solutions on current and future national security issues providing cutting edge academic experiences for students and researchers while developing talent for today’s workforce.
During the visit, Haugh shared his perspective of the changing digital landscape and how conflict is often thought about through a certain lens of deploying to fight our nation’s wars.
“Now we are in a different period of our history where in many respects our industry and our population are the target for many of the activities that are happening today to give adversaries an advantage,” he said. “What does that mean for us as a nation and how do we work together to be able to secure really what is the engine of our nation, which is the innovation?”
With a central theme of innovation, the NSCC hosts several UTSA research centers and institutes including the Cyber Center for Security and Analytics and the MATRIX AI Consortium for Human Well-Being, in addition to supporting on-campus laboratories such as the San Antonio Virtual Environments (SAVE) lab, the Internet of Things (IoT) lab; and the Control Systems/SCADA lab.
The visit with 16th Air Force showcased various initiatives spanning from virtual and augmented reality demonstrations, to encryption detection devices, Internet of Things vulnerabilities and Joint Base San Antonio’s 5G and telehealth/telemedicine advanced technology pilot program. Partners discussed their research and how their data and/or techniques may serve as a resource to enhance the Department of Defense’s capabilities and national security.
Federal and industry partners discussed their research and capabilities and how their data and techniques may serve as a resource to enhance both Whole-of-Nation and the Department of Defense’s capability and capacity to advance national security.
The NSCC also provides a great opportunity for the 16th Air Force team to advance training quality and capacity, address talent acquisition, and accelerate the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System capabilities and its role in the Joint All Domain Command and Control, demonstrating how these services will interconnect across the Department of Defense.
“Partnerships with education and industry are instrumental to hone our skills, collaborate, and promote innovation to remain competitive against adversaries,” said Frank von Heiland, Air Force Cryptologic Office, Intelligence Force Management and Training, Senior Language Authority, and Human Language Technology Authority chief, who was also in attendance. “We’ve collaborated with the NSCC on several initiatives aimed toward modernizing the Air Force cryptologic training experience including virtual and augmented reality.”
These partnerships help support the warfighter by advancing training, research, innovation and collaboration in areas of zero-trust atmosphere, integration of 5G technology, artificial intelligence, data science, and digital forensics.
“Partnerships like this also serve as a gateway for us to recruit talent that’s important to sustain our growing mission and the demands of a changing environment,” von Heiland said.
Haugh concluded his visit by underscoring the importance of partnerships with both higher education and industry in advancing research and innovation and by sharing what future opportunities to collaborate may look like in areas such as the Department of the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System capabilities and its role in Joint All Domain Command and Control, and how the services will interconnect across the Department of Defense.
“The partnerships that exist here from an education perspective and with the city of San Antonio are phenomenal,” Haugh said.
San Antonio is the second-largest global cyber hub in the United States with a growing cyber ecosystem. The NSCC, part of the larger UTSA Knowledge Enterprise, will be co-located with UTSA’s School of Data Science in a new world-class research and education center near UTSA’s downtown campus in San Antonio and is scheduled to open in 2022.
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