Tom Hutton, University Relations, 262-3439

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO — The Network Information and Space Security Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs recently received a $2 million grant to expand its operations.

The grant resulted from the $355.5 billion FY03 military spending package signed by President George W. Bush in October 2002. According to campus organizers, the grant will not only allow the NISSC to begin to “stand up” its operations but to more quickly expand to meet critical national needs.

“I am deeply appreciative of the efforts of the entire Colorado legislative delegation and Department of Defense officials who recognize the importance of protecting the nation’s computer networks and the quality of expertise at the University of Colorado,” Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor, CU-Colorado Springs, said. “By working together, I believe we can make a difference in preventing or lessening the impact of a terrorist attack and to develop new infrastructure architectures that are more secure than what exists today.”

Shockley-Zalabak specifically lauded the efforts of Sen. Wayne Allard, Rep. Joel Hefley and Rep. Scott McInnis who assisted the university in obtaining the grant.

The university worked cooperatively with members of the Colorado Senate and House delegations as well as with Department of Defense officials to develop NISSC. Thosenegotiations were in process several months before the Sept. 11 disaster. They undertook special emphasis following the attacks on the Pentagon and New York, Shockley-Zalabak said.

An agreement with the U.S. Space Command was signed in November 2001 and military officers have enrolled in specialized computer science courses. An additional agreement with Northern Command was signed today (April 2) in on-campus ceremonies.

The courses, taught by university faculty from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, have allowed the officers to earn a certificate in information assurance from the university. The first certificates were also awarded in on-campus ceremonies today.

With the additional funding, NISSC can offer more assistance to the newly formed Colorado Springs-based Northern Command and to other Homeland Security efforts by designating faculty to work on cutting-edge research with the goal of reducing the vulnerability of the nation’s critical infrastructures and improving our ability to respond to attacks. While housed at CU-Colorado Springs, organizers see the research effort proceeding in cooperation with faculty based at CU campuses in Denver, Boulder and at the CU Health Sciences Center or at other university campuses with computer information expertise.

“NISSC will work in collaboration with industry, government and other academic entities to share information, identify needs and find solutions to critical needs,” Bill Ayen, NISSC director, said. “The initial focus has been on military and non-military information assurance activities but these activities have now been expanded to include homeland defense and homeland security challenges. Besides increasing the level of research in these areas, one of the first results will be specialized curriculum and training for military, civil government, and industry partners.”

CU-Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in northeast Colorado Springs, is the fastest growing university in Colorado and one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The university offers 25 bachelor’s degrees, 17 master’s and two doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls more than 7,400 students annually.