Governor Barbour

July 15, 2009 


Governor Haley Barbour and members of Mississippi's congressional delegation today applauded the U.S. Air Force's decision to base its new Undergraduate Cyberspace Training unit at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

The training will include how to design, secure, assess, exploit, attack and defend various communication networks, including telephones, Internet protocol, satellite, land mobile radio, industrial control systems, integrated air defense and tactical data link.

"Placing the Undergraduate Cyberspace Training at Keesler expands Mississippi's already substantial role in our national defense, and carries significant potential for economic development over the long term," Governor Barbour said. "This further expands Keesler’s critical role as one of our nation's premier Air Force bases, and the budget increase for start-up plus the increase in students and instructors will be good for the Gulf Coast economy."

The initial student load for Undergraduate Cyberspace Training at Keesler will be about 615 students with an estimated increase of about 60 permanent party instructors. The first class is scheduled to start in 2010.

"Cyber-attacks on American security networks reveal how critical this new training at Keesler Air Force Base is to our national security.   I am very pleased Keesler has been selected as the training location for the growing Air Force cyberspace mission.   Keesler has a strong reputation for military technical training, and its work reflects a great deal of credit on our military, our state, and the Gulf Coast," said U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, who as ranking member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee advocated Keesler's qualifications with Air Force officials at a hearing this spring.

"This is great news for Keesler and the Coast," said U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, who’s district includes the base. "I applaud the Air Force's decision to make Kessler the centerpiece for the cyber space training mission."

As part of the selection process, a survey team from the Air Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Texas, visited Keesler to evaluate billeting, dining, classroom facilities, and base team support, including utilities, community planning, base communications capability, environmental factors, and anti-terrorism issues. The team reported that Keesler is well positioned for a 2010 start-up of Undergraduate Cyber Training. The security sensitive portion of Keesler’s existing training facilities will be expanded to accommodate this increase in classified training.