Texas A&M University System
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Texas A&M Recognized for Protecting Research

May 15, 2020
One of the world’s top research institutions for defense technologies is also a leader in protecting research secrets from foreign spies.

For the second time in three years, the Texas A&M University System has won the Defense Counterintelligence & Security Agency Award for Excellence in Counterintelligence for 2019. The university, based in College Station, TX, is the only institution of higher education to win the award more than once. The award is bestowed by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD); it is awarded for work to protect sensitive information from foreign spies. Texas A&M was one of five entities to receive the award, which is the highest honor given by the U.S. government in the counterintelligence category. The university performs about $400 million in research for U.S. government sponsors.

Technology research typically requires a major investment, whether for product development or medical advances. For example, major security-based organizations such as the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have indicated that spies from the Peoples’ Republic of China are likely targeting research being performed to better understand the COVID-19 coronavirus behind the current global pandemic. John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, explained that protecting research is vital: “The Texas A&M University System makes counterintelligence a priority. We intend to be a leader in protecting national interest and the sensitive work the Texas A&M System does in service to our country.”

The defense agency highlighted the work of Keven Gamache, chief research security officer for the Texas A&M University System. The agency praised a briefing by Gamache to FBI-sponsored events, “National Security in the 21st Century: Threats to Academia.” In addition, the agency recognized the university’s Office of Federal Relations in Washington, DC for working with Texas Senator John Cornyn’s office to draft language for the 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, a roadmap for other schools to protect federally funded research from spies. The senator noted: “Texas A&M’s investments in counterintelligence and secure computing keep Americans safe and help us stay on the cutting edge. Congratulations to the students and faculty at the Texas A&M System whose hard work is recognized with this award.”

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