May 25, 2023

Manchin Applauds Establishment of National Center of Excellence for Cybersecurity in Critical Infrastructure in West Virginia

Charleston, WV – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and Chairman of the SASC Cybersecurity Subcommittee, announced the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN) and U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) are partnering with Marshall University and West Virginia University (WVU) to establish a National Center of Excellence for Cybersecurity in Critical Infrastructure in West Virginia.

“I am proud to join Lieutenant General Skinner in announcing the creation of a National Center of Excellence for Cyber Security in Critical Infrastructure in West Virginia,” said Chairman Manchin. “The expertise we have created in our state with students coming from cybersecurity programs at both Marshall University and West Virginia University is exactly what our national security community needs. These students will continue to gain real-life experience that you cannot get anywhere else by participating in the world’s largest international cyber defense exercise, Locked Shields. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, I will continue to ensure initiatives like these continue.”

This partnership expands the ability of CYBERCOM and JFHQ-DODIN to examine critical infrastructure issues and create solutions to strengthen national security while helping shape the future cyber workforce through research, training and collaborative initiatives. The cornerstone of the National Center of Excellence will be the public/private partnership of academia, federal, state and local government, law enforcement, the Department of Defense and the private sector with a vision of becoming the premier source of expertise in cybersecurity, operations and defense of America’s critical infrastructure.

As Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Cybersecurity Subcommittee, Senator Manchin strongly advocated for the creation of this Center of Excellence through securing funding for the Locked Shields cybersecurity exercise in the Fiscal Year 2023 Funding Bill. In March, Chairman Manchin questioned Lt. Gen. Skinner on the importance of expanding critical infrastructure protection during the first Cyber Subcommittee hearing.

“The research and innovation fostered through academia is foundational to our success. We're excited to build this partnership with Marshall University and West Virginia University to create new solutions for reducing risk to our critical infrastructure from cyber threats,” said Holly Baroody, Executive Director of CYBERCOM.

“We look forward to sharing our lessons learned and experiences in the command and control of a complex federated environment. In this environment, dozens of organizations are responsible and accountable for their own operations and outcomes but must work collectively in a unified approach for speed and resiliency,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, the commander of JFHQ-DODIN.

“West Virginia University is focused on finding and supporting programs that will truly elevate the educational experience for our students,” said West Virginia University President Gordon Gee. “We are excited about this partnership to create a center of excellence for cyberspace to explore and shape innovative solutions addressing cyber challenges. By leveraging the new center and lab, as well as broadening the learning opportunities for students, we will be at the leading edge of developing the future cyber workforce.”

“We are grateful for JFHQ-DODIN and USCYBERCOM’s involvement in helping develop the security operations center, research lab and assistance in shaping our curriculum for the 21st century workforce, as well as assistance from our federal delegation,” said Marshall University President Brad D. Smith. “Together with our private sector partners we are architecting a learning environment and research laboratory that strategically intersects information technology and operational technology to advance our collective capabilities,” said Marshall University President Brad D. Smith.