NSA Breaks Ground on $1.2B Cybersecurity ‘Spy Center’

Photo: U.S. Air Force/Cecilio Ricardo

The Intelligence Community’s efforts to strengthen cybersecurity got a billion-dollar upgrade last week.

The National Security Agency, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, broke ground last Thursday on a plot in Utah that eventually will become a one million square-foot, $1.2 billion state-of-the-art data center on the grounds of a National Guard post near Salt Lake City.

“In an era when our nation and its allies are increasingly dependent on the integrity of information and systems supported, transmitted or stored in cyberspace, it is essential that that space is as resilient and secure as possible,” said NSA Deputy Director John C. Inglis.

John Inglis, NSA deputy director

NSA said more than 200 people attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative Data Center, or “The Spy Center,” as the Salt Lake Tribune has dubbed the facility,

Among those in attendance was Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who InformationWeek reported had pushed for the facility to be built in Utah for years.

“Just as we defend our lands – America also needs to also defend our cyberspace,” Hatch said.

He added the data center is part of “expanding efforts” to defense and military networks, as well as the government’s civilian computer systems.

The facility will assist agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in protecting computer networks vital to national security.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)

“There is a clear mandate for a public-private partnership – led on the government side by DHS – but supported by all elements of the U.S. government, to include federal, state and local organizations represented here today,” Inglis added.

InformationWeek read Inglis’ comments as a “hint” that the center might also be used to protect private critical infrastructure networks, such as those of defense companies.

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