Photo from Mississippi State University.

The Mississippi Cyber Center houses initial capabilities established as part of the MSU-led Mississippi Cyber Initiative.

On Wednesday, November 9th, officials from Mississippi State University (MSU), Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC), along with multiple state and federal partners, held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Mississippi Cyber Center.

The Mississippi Cyber Center is located on the MGCCC Harrison County Campus and houses initial capabilities established as part of the MSU-led Mississippi Cyber Initiative (MCI).

“Utilizing an initial state investment of $3.5 million, the Mississippi Cyber Initiative has worked to build collaborations, assess stakeholder needs and develop the Mississippi Cyber Center, which currently serves as the initiative’s headquarters,” MSU said in a release. “MCI is also in the final stages of developing a cyber ecosystem that can be utilized by partners for a wide range of cyber exercises, events and training activities.”

The MCI, established in 2021, is a statewide effort to broaden the state’s capabilities and coordination in cybersecurity. The initiative leverages collective expertise among academia, the private sector, federal and local government, law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Mississippi National Guard.

MSU Provost and Executive Vice President David Shaw said cybersecurity is a critical piece of our shared future, regardless of who you are or what kind of business you are in.

“Through the Mississippi Cyber Initiative, we are creating a statewide network that is using unparalleled collaboration to address these issues head on,” Shaw said. “I am incredibly excited about the impact of this facility and the unlimited potential of what we can accomplish working together.”

MGCCC President Mary S. Graham said this new endeavor is an outstanding opportunity to put Mississippi at the forefront of cybersecurity in the nation and world

“Preparing students and our military to meet the challenges in the ever-changing cyber domain is going to bring security and stability that is much needed in today’s world,” Graham said.

The long-term plan includes expanding capabilities at the MGCCC facility and building a larger facility on the Gulf Coast to serve as MCI headquarters, with complementary capabilities spread across the state.

“The Mississippi Cyber and Technology Center will serve as the hub for a robust network of statewide partners, offering a coordination site for cyber training and threat mitigation efforts, as well as space for collaboration with private sector companies,” MSU continued.

Jim Martin, MCI lead and MSU associate vice president for economic development and corporate engagement, said the Mississippi Cyber Initiative continues to build strong momentum.

“We have taken a very deliberate approach of listening to stakeholders to determine specific needs and now we are standing up capabilities to address those needs in a way that benefits the entire state. We could not do this ourselves, so I greatly appreciate everyone that has been a part of this initiative,” Martin said.