ARL South opens new cybersecurity center

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory along with the University of Texas at El Paso commemorated the opening of a new cybersecurity center with its first community cybersecurity workshop Aug. 10, 2017. From left, Dr. Jaime Acosta, ARL Center lead, and Dr. Salamah Salamah, UTEP, lead the program. | Photo by Laura Trejo, UTEP

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, ARL, and the University of Texas at El Paso, or UTEP, commemorated the opening of a new cybersecurity center with its first community cybersecurity workshop for professionals held at the university Aug. 10. More than 20 people from 15 organizations attended.

The Center for Cyber Analysis and Assessment is located inside the university’s Prospect Hall and provides researchers a place to conduct research and deliver cybersecurity-related workshops for the El Paso area community.

ARL established ARL South and signed an agreement with The University of Texas System to open up its laboratories to entrepreneurs and researchers interested in working on Army programs in the fall of 2016. The ARL South initiative is part of the organization’s Open Campus program to allow researchers and startups to use Army facilities to test prototypes and conduct research.

Through in-kind contributions of equipment, construction costs, furniture, mentorship and manpower, ARL and UTEP established the cybersecurity center and laboratory at UTEP.

The cybersecurity center is a capstone of the ARL South satellite campus at UTEP. The center is led by ARL’s Dr. Jaime Acosta in collaboration with university personnel Drs. Salamah Salamah and Ann Gates of the computer science department, and Dr. Robert Osegueda, vice president for research.

“The collaboration allows for the exchange of personnel between ARL and UTEP, opens more ARL internship opportunities for UTEP students, and allows ARL members to mentor students through class offerings and practicum experiences,” Acosta said.

Salamah said that while there is a huge demand for cybersecurity experts in government and industry, diversity in the cybersecurity workforce is significantly lacking.

“I hope that initiatives like ARL-South and this new center at UTEP will have a significant impact on developing a diverse workforce with expertise in cybersecurity,” Salamah said.

As part of the new ARL-south funds, Salamah said UTEP has hired four students this summer to conduct cybersecurity-related research, with more to come over the next couple of years.

ARL South regional director, Heidi Maupin is pleased with the region’s progress.

“Successful outcomes of our ARL South partnerships like this help pave the way for us as we discover, innovate, and transition science and technology to achieve superior land power,” Maupin said.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

By Joyce M. Conant, ARL