Ralph Northam, the Virginia Governor, recently announced that the federal government had awarded the state a $1.5 million grant to help small-sized companies and players in the defence sector combat cybersecurity. The funding is also aimed at improving cybersecurity certification and skills and helping modernize the state’s workforce in the maritime industry.
According to Cyber Seek, the USA is experiencing a national shortage of qualified cyber professionals, prompting the federal government to take action and change things.
Virginia Defense Powerhouse
During this announcement, Governor Northam acknowledged Virginia as a powerhouse in the defence industry, adding that local businesses involved in defence supplies are indispensable in military preparedness and hence the need to improve them. The governor also pointed out that the grant will help local defence suppliers improve their cyber competencies and enhance the state’s maritime workforce’s resilience in meeting modernization opportunities.
This grant will benefit various colleges and centers by helping create value sources for students, faculties, and staff through experimental learning, research opportunities, and developing curriculum. Of the $1.5 million grant, $1.026 million will be diverted to GENEDGE Alliance. This facility works with small defense businesses to meet cybersecurity standards set by the Department of Defense.
Accordingly, the Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem initiative, which is under the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, is expected to get $474,000 of the funding. This portion will be used to offer modernized and sustainable maritime pipelines to the ship repair workers. The Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem focuses on businesses, academics, public administration, and not-for-profit in the state’s five economic regions.
The $1.5 million grant advanced to Virginia is part of the Department of Defense’s $10 million appropriations to the National Security Agency. This money is meant to help identify and develop Virginia’s diverse student population into technical experts in cybersecurity elements. The initiative is expected to follow five programs:
- Experiental learning: The institution is expected to develop opportunities for practical learning in response to real-world cybersecurity challenges.
- Pipeline programs: The institution is expected to support all pipeline programs, including internships, scholarships, and mentoring.
- Curriculum development: The institution is expected to map civilians’ knowledge, skills, and abilities required in the Department of Defense and cybersecurity workforce.
- Cybersecurity research: Virginia Tech is to research different gaps as identified by the National Security Agency. Additionally, students enrolled in cybersecurity and related subjects will be allowed open participation in paid experimental learning.
- Program development: The institution is expected to develop student engagement programs that cut across various aspects, such as internships, seminars, competitions, and career days, among others.
The $474,000 million grant will help the MIBE initiative to collaborate with various stakeholders to strengthen the state’s maritime workforce. This is an aspect deemed essential in the United State’s ability to build the best warships. Accordingly, the funding is expected to place Virginia at the forefront of maritime space technology.
Currently, Virginia is ranked among the leading spenders in defense and defense contract spending. With the added funding, the state will be able to take its maritime capabilities even further.