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MSU’s Center for Cyber Innovation, Keesler Air Force Base and MSGCCC Continue to Expand Cyber Efforts to Address Cyber Security Issues

May 21, 2021

Mississippi State's CCI partner with Keesler Air Force Base and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to expand state educational cyber initiative. Graphic by Dr. Drew Hamilton
Through educational partnerships, the state of Mississippi strives towards enhancing cyber applications and providing technology assistance for all levels of education.

Stemming from the collaboration of Keesler and Mississippi State University, new cyber capabilities have been initiated through the Governor's Emergency Education Relief grant of $13.5 million.

Along with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and MSU, the 81st Training Group has begun to create a new cyber range network designed for computer programming.

"The new cyber range and other network projects are a seed for our future cyber technology center," said Violet Brantley, 81st Training Group training administrator. "The network can be used as a virtual playground to test out concepts and the skillsets of the students."

The cyber range also serves as another asset to Keesler's cyber training.

"The Airmen will be provided a hands-on training experience," said Maj. Marc Icban, 336th Training Squadron director of operations. "We needed a virtual environment for our Airmen to figure out how to maintain and protect a network. They will be able to learn from their mistakes without effecting the mission."

Because of the similar curriculum and constructive programs that MGCCC offers, the college has become a suitable partner for Keesler.

"It was another natural partnership that helps Keesler and the local community grow together going forward," said Brantley. "MGCCC also reaches to our lower-level education; we can develop our future work force while connecting our students with the most qualified cyber instructors."

Icban sees this crossflow of information beneficial for the cyber education of Keesler and the colleges.

"If there is any new teaching techniques or advancements to technology, we look at them in the same environment and incorporate them into our curriculum," said Icban. "The exchange of our ideas and exposure to new possibilities will give us the best technology that we can incorporate to prepare our Airmen."

The continued partnership has begun to build the innovation of cyber education and set course for future collaborations.

"Though we have not begun building the infrastructure of the cyber center, the networking and cyber projects serves as a short-term win for our partnership," said Brantley. "We want to take action and begin our cyber initiatives."

By Senior Airman Seth Haddix, 81st Training Wing Public Affairs / Published May 20, 2021 /Air Education and Training Command the Official United States Air Force Website