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Academia, business community and national security officials discuss cybersecurity expansion in San Antonio
AUSTIN— San Antonio has become a thriving national hub for a cybersecurity and intelligence industry that supports new Department of Defense technologies.
Today, defense industry leaders met in the Alamo City for the inaugural San Antonio Converge Summit, hosted by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce in partnership with The University of Texas System and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
“This cyber showcase was a special forum to discuss opportunities for the private sector and academia in support of innovations for federal agencies such as the National Security Agency and military commands in Texas with global operations,” said Michelle Atchison, Ph.D., UT System’s associate vice chancellor for federal relations. “The event aligns with UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven’s vision of creating a UT network for national security that builds on the strengths of the system’s 40 centers and institutes focusing on national security issues.”
During the summit, held on the campus of UTSA, San Antonio business and education leaders learned about unique partnerships with NSA in the areas of small business engagement, technology transfer and rapid innovation.
An independent cyber study commissioned by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce found that San Antonio has become the second largest hub for cybersecurity in the U.S. behind Washington D.C.
San Antonio’s access to talent from NSA, 24th Air Force and 25th Air Force, as well as its strong foundation of commercial cybersecurity firms that have matured over the years has made the city a national cyber powerhouse. Additionally, UTSA has the nation’s top ranked cybersecurity program, according to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute for Hewlett-Packard.
“San Antonio is home to a very unique cybersecurity ecosystem, represented in the diverse agencies, organizations and businesses participating in the Converge Summit,” said Will Garrett, CyberSecurity San Antonio’s executive director. “The opportunity exists for the local private sector companies, academic institutions and defense department missions to develop partnerships and collaborative programs that will serve the growing needs of the national intelligence community.”
McRaven said cybersecurity and its related disciplines is a key development focus across the UT System.
“As part of the UT Defense Advisory Group, our top cybersecurity strategic initiative is to provide a comprehensive cyber and cloud development framework that’s focused on both the educational and workforce needs for Texas with a national impact,” he said. “UTSA’s renowned cybersecurity faculty experts and San Antonio’s thriving cybersecurity and intelligence industry is helping us achieve this mission.”
UTSA President Ricardo Romo said: “In 2002, UTSA led San Antonio in a mock cyber terrorism exercise – the first of its kind in the U.S. Since then, we’ve been growing our top-tier academic and research programs in cloud, cyber, computing and analytics. Through our colleges of Business, Sciences and Engineering, we now have a dozen degree programs – and three research centers and institutes – that train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.”
Some of today’s speakers included David Daniel, Ph.D., UT System deputy chancellor; Maj. Gen. Ed Wilson, commander of the 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber; Maj. Gen. B.J. Shwedo, commander of the 25th Air Force; Maj. Gen. Kenneth W. Wisian, deputy adjutant general and commander of the Air Texas National Guard; and Will Garrett, director of CyberSecurity San Antonio.
About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, TheUniversity of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 217,000, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates almost two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $16.9 billion (FY 2016) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates – and more than 70,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.