University of Texas – San Antonio to lead public-private cybersecurity manufacturing consortium

Published on May 22, 2020 by Chris Galford

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this week appointed the University of Texas – San Antonio to lead the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManll), a new public-private consortium focused on early-stage research and development.

Through such R&D, those involved aim to boost U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency, and innovation to advance cybersecurity in manufacturing at large. CyManll is a response to cyber vulnerabilities identified in the nation’s manufacturing sector and prioritized for fixing by the White House’s Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing. As advanced manufacturing improves through new sensor and control technologies, the consensus from the administration is that the potential for new cyber vulnerabilities will also go up.

“Advanced manufacturing technologies, including novel industrial control systems, hold promise to improve the energy efficiency and competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector,” Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said. “The Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute will address a range of cybersecurity challenges to enable the increased adoption of next generation energy-efficient technologies in American manufacturing.”

The university will be joined by other institutions of higher education, members of industry, and three DOE National Laboratories: Sandia, Oak Ridge, and Idaho. The consortium will focus on securing automation and supply chain networks, working to understand evolving cybersecurity threats and develop the means to meet them, as well as sharing the knowledge gained with U.S. manufacturers.

To do this, the Institute will utilize up to $70 million, spaced out over five years, from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. It will be co-managed with the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response.

“Our electricity and oil and natural gas partners across the energy sector provide the services that underpin the national defense, vital emergency services, critical infrastructure, economy, and way of life for the American people,” Alexander Gates, DOE senior advisor for Cybersecurity, said. “This Institute will rebuild the United States’ position as a global leader in clean manufacturing at a time when foreign adversaries continue to threaten the security of our country.”

Beyond this, the consortium will also work to educate, train, and develop the advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity workforce.