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Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs to hire CEO and host national conference

August 25, 2016 Updated: August 26, 2016 at 6:41 am
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National Cybersecurity Center (Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette)

The National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs plans to hire a CEO next month and will host officials from across the country at a three-day conference in November at The Broadmoor.

A four-person search committee from among the center's 12 directors will conduct interviews and make a recommendation to the board, which plans to select the CEO by mid- to late September, said Eric Hopfenbeck, the center's deputy executive director. Hopfenbeck was speaking at a panel discussion Wednesday about the facility held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. The board began the nationwide search process in early July with help from Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., a Chicago-based executive search firm. The company helped create a job description and determine pay and other details about the position.

"The budget, staff and management structure (of the center) will be determined after the CEO is hired," Hopfenbeck said. "We are still in the development stage, so we are collecting contact information from consultants, partners and subject-matter experts who want to support the NCC."

The center's three-person staff is headed by retired Army Lt. Gen. Ed Anderson, who serves as interim executive director and also is executive director of strategic, military, science, space and security initiatives for University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak.

The panel discussion was part of a two-day cybersecurity training and technology forum hosted by the Colorado Springs chapter of the Information Systems Security Association that also included a keynote address by Mark Weatherford, a NCC board member who also is a former deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The newly hired CEO will have a major role in organizing a three-day National Cybersecurity Institute the center will host Nov. 13-15 at The Broadmoor for invited guests that include governors and attorneys general of all 50 states plus an undisclosed number of mayors and county commissioners, Hopfenbeck said. The event will bring real-time information on the latest cyber trends, security, best practices and education resources to the elected officials to help them better protect government computer systems, networks and critical public assets.

The conference will be the center's public launch. A Rapid Response Center to help small- to mid-sized businesses, nonprofits and government agencies combat and recover from cyber attacks, and a Cyber Research, Education and Training Center that will conduct research on cybersecurity threats and develop a cybersecurity workforce through education programs at UCCS and other schools around the state and nation, are expected to begin operations by next summer. UCCS is meeting with other colleges and universities to develop a cybersecurity curriculum, Hopfenbeck said.

The center also will work with the Western Cyber Exchange and Air Force CyberWorx. The exchange is a 5-year-old group started to strengthen local cybersecurity measures, attract more workers to the industry and share information about cyber attacks and how to prevent and defend against them. The exchange also operates the nation's only Information Sharing and Analysis Organization focused on the private sector. CyberWorx, formerly the Air Force Cyber Innovation Center, does research and testing of cyber security issues and technology at the Air Force Academy.

The center has received three proposals from contractors for renovations to a former TRW manufacturing plant at 3650 N. Nevada Ave. Renovations will be funded by nearly $8 million included in legislation signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper in May. A contractor is expected to be selected by mid-September. The building is owned by UCCS and will become the center's permanent home when renovations are complete. The center is operating from temporary offices at 1867 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Suite 200, across from the east end of the UCCS campus.

For more information on the center, go to www.nationalcybersecuritycenter.org.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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