Georgia's Cyber Innovation and Training Lab to Strengthen Security Through Collaboration

Government technology leaders have set their sights on forging dedicated cybersecurity facilities and initiatives. Maine’s state CIO chairs the Information Protection Working Group. New Jersey has its Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, while the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center continues to break new ground in cybercollaboration.

When leaders in Georgia opted to pursue their own cybercollaboration, they chose to paint with a bigger-than-usual brush. The $50 million Hull McKnight Cyber Innovation and Training Center now under development in Augusta is exceptionally ambitious. Named for local businessmen James M. Hull and William D. McKnight — credited with the original idea for the center — it brings together state government, academia, law enforcement and private-sector players in a bid to shore up the cyberworkforce and strengthen defenses.

We have many different players focused on different pieces, and it seemed we could get a lot more done if we brought all those groups together,” said Georgia CIO Calvin Rhodes, who is also executive director of the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA), the entity responsible for building the center. Getting everyone together has been no small trick, with each constituency bringing its own needs and expectations, its own way of doing business. Concerns have ranged from the vital (securing a space for legal evidence) to the mundane (finding parking for everyone).

How to make these disparate pieces fit together? GovTech talked to key players from across the board to discover how they plan to get their needs met on the way to making this 167,000-square-foot center a reality by the scheduled July 2018 opening date.