UNR Cyber Security Center to support economic growth

John Seelmeyer

A new Cyber Security Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, isn’t likely to generate many jobs immediately.

But economic-development experts and as well as university officials say the Cyber Security Center will provide important support to the industries that are creating new employment in the region.

Among the industries likely to benefit: Online gaming.

“The cyber-security issues there are extraordinary,” said Kevin Carman, UNR’s provost and executive vice president.

Other industries like to be buttressed by the new center’s work range from developers of national defense technology to the utilities that worry about the security of their grid.

“Cyber security is important to every imaginable segment of the economy,” said Carman.

Some of the benefits of the new center will be less tangible, but still real, said Mike Kazmierski, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

“The brand associated with this industry is high-tech. By having a program and startup activity here, we will help move the need on how people outside the region view Reno-Sparks,” said Kazmierski.

Along with other recent developments such as the focus on development of unmanned aerial vehicles, the Cyber Security Center will help attract a technological-savvy workforce, the EDAWN executive said.

The new center’s work will include defense to cyber attacks, education of students and research. Faculty members working with the center come from computer science and engineering, political science, information studies, journalism, criminal justice, mathematics, philosophy, psychology and military science.

UNR is hiring three faculty members with expertise in cyber security.

“The answers to cyber security and protecting the country’s cyber infrastructure are not to be found in a single discipline – it takes cross-disciplinary team intelligence,” said John Arquilla, a professor of the of the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

Arquilla helped UNR officials develop the center.

“Nevada is the ideal place for this initiative, as all the pieces come together here on a very manageable scale: industry, law enforcement, education and research,” Arquilla said.

The Governor’s Economic Development Task Force has identified cyber security as a potential growth industry that can be spurred by work at Nevada schools.

The new center received support from the Northern Nevada Regional Intelligence Center, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, National Security Forum, EDAWN and Reno digital forensics company Vere Software. The center will include close collaborations with the Desert Research Institute and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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