BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is establishing a cybersecurity center in Baton Rouge that will analyze hacking threats and bolster information sharing among state and federal agencies, industry experts and academics in an effort to strengthen computer network security.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis of the Louisiana National Guard announced the plans Tuesday. They said the center will be located in a coastal research complex called the Water Campus near downtown Baton Rouge.
The National Guard will work on the cybersecurity efforts with LSU research affiliate Stephenson Technologies and private defense contractor Radiance Technologies.
The center will support missions at Fort Polk and Barksdale Air Force Base and be available to respond to cyberattacks on government agencies, schools and private businesses, according to Edwards' office.
Louisiana will spend $2 million to lease and build out the space at the facility.
"We want everyone's data and privacy to be safe and secure. So it's incumbent upon us to invest in cybersecurity measures that protect our citizens from damaging attacks," Edwards said in a news release. "Establishing this facility will provide one of the greatest tools for that safety."
Edwards declared a state of emergency in July as four public school districts found hackers targeted their computer networks, in some cases, infecting networks with malware or ransomware. The Democratic governor also created a statewide cybersecurity commission in 2017, aimed at finding ways to make Louisiana a leader in the field.
More than 40 Louisiana National Guard members will use the new cybersecurity center for training and cybersecurity operations, the governor's office said, while Stephenson Technologies and Radiance Technologies will add 15 new employees in Baton Rouge for the center.