The cybersecurity defense landscape in Georgia, particularly with a focus on the 52nd Combat Communications Squadron’s Cyber Security section at Robins Air Force Base and the U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) at Fort Eisenhower, (formerly Ft. Gordon) presents a multifaceted view of the state’s strategic importance in the national defense framework.

The U.S. Senate voted to confirm President Joseph Biden’s nomination of U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy D. Haugh to the rank of General and to assume the duties as the Commander, U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), Director, National Security Agency (NSA)/Chief, Central Security Service (CSS). ARCYBER and Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Wings support multiple intelligence communities of interest at CYBERCOM, NSA, and CSS. The role of these cybersecurity specialists in safeguarding national cybersecurity, intelligence, and maintaining robust cyber defense mechanisms is indeed crucial alongside their Army counterparts at Eisenhower.

Georgia’s recent legislative focus on cybersecurity, minimally traceable to the recent cyber-attack on the University System of Georgia and any number of local, state, and federal agencies, underscores the urgency of fortifying statewide cyber defenses. The passage of the Georgia Cyber Command Act (Senate Bill 97) in the Senate, although later amended, and the need for a state cyber command, as suggested by State Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, reflect a growing acknowledgment of cyber threats. However, the redirection of the bill’s focus towards medical cannabis access supported more urgent legislative priorities.

The 2022 grant awarded to Augusta University under the National Science Foundation Engines Development Awards for a project focused on advancing cybersecurity technologies in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) is a step in the right direction. This initiative not only aims to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap but also seeks to boost the socio-economic status of the region, demonstrating the intersection of technology, economic and environmental growth, and societal well-being.

Despite the presence of the ARCYBER at Fort Eisenhower and the investment in the Georgia Cyber Center, the CSRA still grapples with economic difficulties, with income levels trailing national averages. This dichotomy between technological advancement and economic disparity illustrates the complex nature of regional development.

Georgia’s cybersecurity defense position, thus, stands as a legislative crown jewel since it will produce jobs and economic development for cyber defense industrial zones throughout the state flooding pipelines to Georgia technology companies. However, the real test lies in balancing the allocation of resources between cybersecurity and other pressing issues, like Medicaid expansion, improved healthcare access, or economic security for Georgia’s veterans. The state’s ability to forge statewide partnerships, especially in times of surplus funding, will be critical in maintaining its strategic advantage in cyber defense while addressing broader social and economic objectives.

This multifaceted approach to cybersecurity in Georgia — encompassing military, legislative, educational, environmental, and economic aspects — is not just a matter of state or regional importance, but a national security imperative. The state’s actions and strategies in this domain could serve as a model for other states, highlighting the need for an integrated approach to cybersecurity that considers technological, economic, and societal dimensions.

William J. Black, III, is a Georgia lawyer who is a combat-disabled retiree of the U.S. Air Force and was a Warrior Games Athlete for the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program.


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