AFCEC constructs U.S. Air Force Academy CyberWorx facility for next generation cyber warriors
By AFCEC Facility Engineering Directorate
/ Published July 29, 2020
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is designing and constructing a $30 Million, 33,000-square-foot facility at the U.S. Air Force Academy to train the next generation of cyber warriors. The state-of-the-art facility will provide cyber-tech classrooms and laboratories to facilitate the integrative and collaborative learning needed to maintain dominance in the complex world of cyber warfare.
The USAFA CyberWorx Facility was conceived based on the need to better train future Air Force leaders to prevent malicious, covert attempts to interrupt and compromise the functional capacity of Department of Defense networks. The pace of technology innovations made it clear this capability is needed now — and that partnering and collaborating with other DoD cyber agencies, as well as industry partners, is essential. A facility dedicated to these learning and collaborative goals was key to developing expertise in the continuously evolving cyber industry.
The CyberWorx journey started in fiscal year 2018, when Congress approved the military construction project for this academic facility. AFCEC's Facility Engineering Directorate, charged with executing the Air Force MILCON program, conducted a series of planning meetings to define requirements for classrooms and laboratory settings unique to cyber learning while allowing a collaborative environment. Features include an Innovation Think Tank, a Digital Forensics and Reverse Engineering Lab, and a Cyber Exploitation and Telecommunications Lab. Another key feature is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operations area with an 18-foot ceiling to explore how to defeat unfriendly drones. The facility will also have conference and breakout rooms to provide an open work environment that incorporates scalable, reconfigurable workspaces for actual and virtual collaborations.
Another unique aspect of the CyberWorx Facility is its location on the Academy's grounds. The location was carefully planned to allow tech industry and other government cyber agencies easier access to the facility without entering the restricted cadet area. This arrangement allows industry partners access with cadets while maintaining a secure environment.
AFCEC drafted and released a Request for Proposals, which is now being advertised for bids. Expected construction contract award is fall of 2020 with construction starting in the summer of 2021. Anticipated construction completion date is late 2023.