LSU announces new cybersecurity, defense initiative


LSU today announced a new initiative to accelerate cybersecurity and defense studies, grow its ROTC program and build a cyber military corridor on campus.

The game plan, in which LSU aims to position itself as a leading cyber and defense institution, will involve all eight LSU campuses as well as partnerships with private industry, the U.S. military, and federal and state law enforcement.

LSU President William Tate today referred to the initiative as the university system’s “Sputnik moment,” a phrase he has used in previous weeks as he pushes a refocusing on research and academics for the state’s flagship school. Gov. John Bel Edwards says the plan is a “momentous leap” for LSU, the state and the country.

“With these initiatives, LSU is expediting the expansion of cybersecurity research and talent development for all, and we’ll do it in exciting ways for our students and faculty,” Tate says in a prepared statement. “The winners will be the overwhelming demand for this education and firms who need this talent.”

This past year, LSU was the only university in the country invited by the National Security Agency to apply for its prestigious Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, or CAE-CO, which is a deeply technical, interdisciplinary, higher education program grounded in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering.

Just 22 institutions nationwide hold the distinction, and LSU anticipates it will be the next university designated by NSA as a CAE-CO institution,

As part of the commitment announced today, LSU is doubling down on two specific initiatives to grow its expertise in cybersecurity—coordinating space and assets, and collaborating to explore the intersection between cybersecurity and military studies.

The Alignment for the Pursuit of Excellence in Cyber Security, or APECS, initiative will serve as the university’s strategic plan for investment in cybersecurity. APECS reimagines how existing and new expertise, space, programs, and partners across all eight LSU campuses can be oriented for cyber talent and technology development. LSU is adding new faculty and cyber programs as part of this initiative.

The Institute for Advanced Military and Defense Studies will serve as the programmatic intersection of cyber and ROTC, creating a leadership development opportunity, with the goal of reestablishing LSU as a national leader in military, defense, and security studies. LSU plans to increase its ROTC recruiting efforts and relocate the program to a new building.

In support of these initiatives, LSU has designated a new cyber military corridor on its Baton Rouge campus, with the previously named Louisiana Emerging Technology Center as the cornerstone. Read the full announcement.