Angelo State University hosted former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison for a special ceremony today (April 27) to announce the re-naming of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Security Studies on campus as the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Cyber Intelligence, Innovation, and Security Studies.
Now located in the ASU Vincent Building at 2333 Vanderventer St., the center has been re-named to reflect that in addition to the nationally recognized security studies programs that have been in place since 2010, the center’s mission has now expanded to also include cybersecurity programs. These include cybersecurity initiatives for K-12 engagement, higher education and research, and community engagement.
“We are honored to show Senator Hutchison the positive strides and new vision for the center that bears her name,” said ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr. “The global landscape and threats have changed significantly since we first focused on Security Studies, and this renaming directly reflects Angelo State’s vision to be known as an innovative leader in driving initiatives that meet the needs of our region, the state and the global community. There is a persistent and pervasive cybersecurity threat against the public and private sectors of our nation. This cybersecurity program will play a major part in how Angelo State prepares graduates for the future while simultaneously educating and supporting our community and the state.”
Hutchison’s connection to the center goes back to 2008 when she facilitated a $2.4 million U.S. Department of Defense grant for ASU to launch a new Center for Security Studies, which opened in 2010. Then in 2012, she facilitated an additional $3 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to continue and expand the center’s operations. The center was re-named the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Security Studies in 2015, and Hutchison later attended an official dedication ceremony in 2016.
The newly-named Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Cyber Intelligence, Innovation, and Security Studies (KBH-CCIISS) began significantly expanding its focus to include cybersecurity in 2020 when ASU added new equipment, academic programs and faculty funded by a grant from the National Security Agency (NSA). Since then, ASU has added bachelor’s degree and certificate programs in cybersecurity, as well as a master’s degree in computer science that includes a cybersecurity concentration.
In 2021, Angelo State was selected to partner with the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security to pilot an NSA-grant-funded program to help communities become more cyber secure. As part of this program, the KBH-CCIISS has hosted the 2022 and 2023 Youth Cybersecurity Workshop and Expo events and the 2022 Concho Valley Cyber Security Roundup, with the 2023 event coming soon. This program also includes K-12 educational components being initiated in local and area school districts.
In 2022, Angelo State was chosen as the pilot location for the Texas Department of Information Resources’ first Regional Security Operations Center (RSOC). The RSOC officially opened in the KBH-CCIISS with a ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this year, with the purpose of providing cybersecurity resources and education for local and regional governments, as well as prestigious internship opportunities for ASU students.
The modification of the center’s mission and the addition of the multiple academic and community programs are also important steps toward ASU gaining the “National Center for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity” designation from the NSA and Department of Homeland Security. This would open up myriad new grant-funding opportunities for ASU faculty, while also enhancing the credentials and career opportunities of ASU cybersecurity graduates.