City makes case for Cyberspace Command at Keesler

Mayor A.J. Holloway announced today that the city is working to have Keesler be named as headquarters for a new war-fighting tool of the Air Force, Cyberspace Command.

The new command, which will be tasked with protecting both military and civilian areas of the Internet, will involve a three-star general, a two-star general, several one-star generals, and more than 500 uniformed personnel.

Holloway and Biloxi civic leader and retired Air Force Gen. Clark Griffith recently traveled to Barksdale, La., to tout the advantages of locating the new command in Biloxi. Gov. Haley Barbour has also been involved in the initiative. A decision is expected in several weeks.

“Keesler is already the electronics training headquarters for the Air Force and the home to the second largest medical facility in the Air Force,” Holloway said. “With those thoughts in mind, General Griffith and I think Biloxi would be the best site for this new command.”

Holloway admitted that dozens of bases would be competing for the new command, “but there’s certainly a convincing argument to locating this command right alongside where the electronics training ‘schoolhouse’ is already located.”

Additionally, the mayor said, “the positioning of this command at Keesler would certainly solidify the future of this base for generations to come.”

The Air Force decided to create the new command because of growing concern over cyber attacks. Online attackers have struck at the U.S. military through the Internet on a regular basis.

Attacks using stealthy “Trojan horses” sent to less than 10 targets have increased over the last two years. Sensitive personnel data has been stolen from several branches of the military. Because of such incidents, government employees are held to toughened standards on laptop use and the Army has started to require Trusted Computing hardware in every laptop procured in the future.