Casey Pushes for Cyber Defense Center At Horsham Air Guard Station

Air Force Currently Looking for Location for New Cyber Defense Facility

Skilled Horsham Workforce Uniquely Positioned to Aid U.S. National Defense

Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and the head of the United States Cyber Command urging them to choose the Horsham Air Guard Station as a new cyber defense location. Currently the Air Force and U.S. Cyber Command are assessing the future of cyber security and the role that the Air National Guard will play in such endeavors.  The location and facility at Horsham AGS may prove to be an ideal location. In his letter, Senator Casey cited the facility’s skilled workforce and its reputation for excellence in making the case for Horsham.

“Time and again Horsham’s workers have stood up to serve our national defense. This new mission would fit Horsham perfectly,” Senator Casey said. “Horsham’s workforce has built a long reputation for excellence and its ideal location in between Washington and New York would suit what the Air Force is looking for in a new cyber defense hub.”

Horsham AGS is also close to a number of national centers of academic excellence such as Drexel University and Penn State University.  In particular, Drexel’s Applied Informatics Group has been developing cyber-security products for government and military consumers since 2001.  This skilled set of software engineers, professors, and students could provide subject matter experts to any future NWS.  This academic and business environment would provide a strong recruiting base for future members of a cyber-security oriented Air National Guard unit.

The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:

The Honorable Michael B. Donley                                              General Keith B. Alexander
Secretary                                                                               United States Cyber Command
United States Air Force

Dear Secretary Donley and General Alexander:

I am writing to urge you to consider Horsham Air Guard Station (AGS) as a future base to host a Network Warfare Squadron (NWS).  After careful examination of a number of factors, I believe that Horsham AGS is perfectly situated to meet the demanding needs of the Air Force and USCYBERCOM. 

Horsham AGS is located approximately 17 miles from Philadelphia, placing it within 175 miles of both New York City and Washington, D.C.  According to a 2010 study by the TechAmerica Foundation, the New York metropolitan statistical area, which includes counties from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, led the nation in high-tech employment.  Washington, D.C. was ranked second in this study, making Horsham AGS ideally situated to take advantage of the expertise in both these areas. 

Horsham AGS is also close to a number of national centers of academic excellence such as Drexel University and Penn State University.  In particular, Drexel’s Applied Informatics Group has been developing cyber-security products for government and military consumers since 2001.  This skilled set of software engineers, professors, and students could provide subject matter experts to any future NWS.  This academic and business environment would also provide a strong recruiting base for future members of a cyber-security oriented Air National Guard unit.

Operationally, Horsham AGS could quickly integrate a NWS for a 24 hour mission alongside its new MQ-9 Reaper command center.  Furthermore, existing unoccupied buildings and ample land for new facilities both exist on the installation, making Horsham AGS both cost-efficient in times of economic austerity, and versatile enough for expansion and further growth.

The geographic advantages, prolific academic environment, personnel availability, and operational/logistical benefits are key factors the Air Force should strongly consider in allocating future cyber-security missions.  I strongly urge that the Air Force and USCYBERCOM consider conducting an on-site survey of Horsham AGS to assess its viability for a cyber mission.

Thank you for your consideration of my request.  I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

 

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