Computer Crime Research Center


Cybercrime: Anti-terrorism creates jobs

Date: January 26, 2008

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Clark Griffin brought some excitement to the Coast this week, talking about the possibility of a national command center for cyberterrorism being located in Mississippi.

Griffin told the Biloxi City Council that Keesler Air Force Base is among bases competing for the command center, which would defend strategic computer systems against electronic warfare.

That is exciting in itself, but such a facility would mean jobs and development to the host area. Griffin said it would be "as big as any Nissan plant, Toyota plant" or large casino project.

Later, an Air Force spokesman said Griffin might have been premature and that there is no finalist list for the command center. There will be a list of three or four finalists next month and a decision in March, said Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick. Gulick said the initial plan calls for 400-500 officers, enlisted personnel and civilians, but it could grow.

Meanwhile, Mississippi, particularly the Flora area, is one of five finalists for the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

The sophisticated research facility would bring about 200 of the nation's top scientists, who would test and evaluate combatting bio and agro terrorism threats.

The construction would be a boom in itself, but it would mean spinoff development throughout the area. The average salary of the 400 jobs would be $75,000. Again, local economic developers put it in the league of an auto plant as far as economic impact.

The decision will be made by the Department of Homeland Security.

State and local political leaders as well as economic development officials are strongly pursing these projects. Both hold tremendous potential.

Mississippi has a strong history of supporting defense-related projects. The public should be strongly supporting these efforts. They are not only necessary for defense, but would be good for the state and local economy.
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