In afternoon sessions at the first full day of the annual conference, state leaders shared progress on major workforce, shared services and digital transformation initiatives.
Georgia CIO Calvin Rhodes
This year Georgia took a big step forward in cybersecurity with the development and construction of its cyber center and training range, moving from proposal to ribbon-cutting on an aggressive 18-month timeline.
Funded entirely with state cash on hand, the $100 million Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center brings together universities and technical colleges, private-sector businesses, and law enforcement, as well as the Army Cyber Command, a strategic group within the military branch that was consolidated at the center in Augusta.
State CIO Calvin Rhodes described the motivations behind creating the cyber center, as well as the far-reaching impact it will have on state security. He laid out five program areas, including research and development, training and education, and innovation and incubation. One of the main drivers for private-sector partners to get involved, Rhodes said, comes from ready access to the center’s student population. Already, 500 students from local schools are taking courses at the training center, and the state anticipates that number to grow dramatically.
Collaboration among the different groups at Georgia’s cyber center is key to its mission. “We’re going to force collisions,” Rhodes said, explaining that by bringing together partners who may not otherwise have met, the parties are more likely to realize greater outcomes.
Agencies of all levels across the state are welcome to access the resources at the cyber center, which will make Georgia more secure overall. And Rhodes added that the new Cyber Crime Unit created as part of the center’s development will give small jurisdictions with limited resources tools to improve their strategies.