Georgia is now officially the home of the Army Cyber Command headquarters, a move that consolidates soldiers and civilian hackers onto one base.
Fortitude Hall, located at Fort Gordon near Augusta, Georgia, is the new home for the Army’s hacking, cyberdefense and information warfare arm. The hall was dedicated Thursday after the Army’s years of planning to move its cyber specialists to a central headquarters.
Fort Gordon is also home to the Army Signals Corps, Cyber Center of Excellence and other network security-focused programs, which will allow the command to collaborate with mission partners.
Some of the 1,200 soldiers, civilians and contractors the Army anticipates hosting in the facility are already on-site, but the Army doesn’t expect it to be fully staffed until next September.
“We really have consolidated all our cyber capabilities in South Georgia,” James McPherson, the service’s No. 2 civilian, told reporters Thursday. “This is tremendous for all things cyber in the Army.”
The Army stood up its cyber command in 2010, and the construction of Fortitude Hall began a few years later in 2016. The building of the high-tech, highly secure facility experienced minor delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Army.
The Army, which has perennial problems with recruiting and retaining a cyber workforce, says that moving the command’s headquarters into a single campus will reduce the number of times service members and civilians will need to uproot their families and move to new locales.
“This gives us tremendous flexibility and connectivity,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, Army Cyber Command’s commanding general, said Thursday.
By centralizing in southern Georgia, the command is in the state’s “cyber corridor,” where state and local officials have invested in cyber education and workforce programs. Senior Army leaders at the base said they plan on doing outreach to nearby schools, from elementary to college-level, to recruit future uniformed and civilian cyber specialists.
“Talent management is our No. 1 priority,” Fogarty said. “The weapon system doesn’t fight itself, so the workforce is the most important part of the equation.”
Having the command under one roof gives the Army a technical advantage as well. By physically locating its networks at Fort Gordon, instead of connecting to another location, the Army believes it has one of the strongest and most secure networks in the military.
“The IT is very powerful,” Fogarty said. He added that “we probably have the best network in the DOD right now within our facility.”