March 18, 2018
WCR hosted a roundtable event featuring Brad Nix, the former acting director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) at DHS and Chris Middleton, the director of strategic innovation and military liaison at University of West Florida (UWF). Mr. Nix and Mr. Middleton discussed in detail the push and pull factors contributing to the growth of the cyber sector in Pensacola, which is expected to expand if appropriators approve the funds. DHS has been a key factor in stimulating growth by relying more on Pensacola as a back up to efforts being led in other cities and is now dedicating specific functions to Pensacola. Pensacola’s connection to the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCICC) and the Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station is also expanding and Pensacola is now a cradle for Naval cryptography. Academic institutions, like UWF, are also playing a role in filling the cyber workforce gap to create a cyber professional pipeline. The key issues now is how to scale the pipeline.