The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), together with the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), has opened a cybersecurity center at the latter. The Center for Cyber Analysis and Assessment is located inside the university’s Prospect Hall. It provides researchers a place to conduct research and deliver cybersecurity-related workshops for the El Paso-area community.
The collaboration comes on the heels of ARL signing an agreement with the University of Texas System in late 2016 to create ARL South, opening various Texas university laboratories to entrepreneurs and researchers interested in working on Army programs. The ARL South initiative is part of ARL’s Open Campus program to allow researchers and startups to use Army facilities to test prototypes and conduct research.
ARL and UTEP established the cybersecurity center and laboratory at UTEP by means of in-kind contributions of equipment, construction costs, furniture, mentorship, and manpower. The center is led by ARL’s Dr. Jaime Acosta in collaboration with university personnel: Dr. Salamah Salamah and Dr. Ann Gates from the computer science department, and Dr. Robert Osegueda, vice president for research. “The collaboration allows for the exchange of personnel between ARL and UTEP, opens more ARL internship opportunities for UTEP students, and allows ARL members to mentor students through class offerings and practicum experiences,” said Acosta.
Salamah added that there is a large demand for cybersecurity experts in both government and industry, but diversity of expertise is lacking. “I hope that initiatives like ARL-South and this new center at UTEP will have a significant impact on developing diverse workforce with expertise in cybersecurity,” he said. As part of newly available funding for ARL-South, UTEP has hired four students to conduct cybersecurity-related research, with more to come over the next couple of years.