Why Augusta deserves to be home to a cyber army
More than five years ago, I boarded a shuttle bus from the Pentagon to Capitol Hill for the first of many briefings to congressional staffers on the Army’s plan to consolidate its cyber institutions at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. Most staffers were polite, professional, and interested in understanding the rationale of creating an operational command, with the needed intelligence support of National Security Agency – Georgia, and the training arm of a center of excellence. One or two were noticeably concerned over the impact of job losses in their boss’ district. Nearly all made a cute comment about the sensibility in creating a cyber hub around “pokey” Augusta, Georgia.
After several rounds of briefings including generals from U.S. Cyber Command and Army Cyber Command and a phone call from the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) to a senior senator, Congress accepted the Army’s plan in December 2013. Within a few months, the chief also stated the Army would be a leader in cyber as it assumed additional roles in training the cyber mission force. Since then, the U.S. Army has fully invested in making Fort Gordon, Georgia its cyber home. Meanwhile, some inside and outside of the Army still question the decision and the Army’s ability to lead innovate in cyber because of the decision.
The U.S. Army and Augusta are well on the way to validating the decision.