12/10/2014 – HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. — The U.S. Air Force, in concert with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this week marked the official re-branding of a facility both parties hope will enable leading-edge advances in defense applications, cyber defense and public safety.
The on-base facility, formerly known in acronym form as the CEIF (pronounced Seef), has been renamed the Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center.
“We picked the new name because that’s exactly what we hope to achieve going forward,” said Dr. Tim Rudolph, chief technology officer for the Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center, key elements of which are headquartered at Hanscom. “We intend to use this facility to advance our connectivity with the vast array of local and regional intellectual capital inherent in Massachusetts. This will allow us to better meet critical Air Force mission objectives and, hopefully, in turn allow other parties to better achieve their own vital objectives.”
In its previous incarnation, the facility often served to integrate the efforts of various parties, though most were military. It was a key “node” for massive joint and multi-nation coalition warfighting experiments and demonstrations.
Now its role would expand to possibly include industry, technical consortia, federally funded research and development centers and academia, as well as federal, state and even municipal public safety officials.
“The Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center once again shows that Massachusetts is leading the way in being prepared for the 21st century innovation economy,” said Mass. Governor Deval Patrick. “This Center has a tremendous amount of potential to strengthen Hanscom’s critical military infrastructure as well as the Massachusetts economy.”
The Commonwealth was excited enough about fostering this sort of collaboration to invest in upgrading the facility. Using bonding authority provided by a military bond bill passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick earlier this year, Massachusetts has provided $2.9 million for essential upgrades.
The CEIF is currently operating at maximum power and heating, ventilation and air conditioning levels while attempting to accommodate a large number of users. Upgrading the CEIF’s power would allow many new participants to use the facility. Doing that would, in turn, lower test and evaluation costs for everyone. It would also reduce test cycle times, test failure rates and functional and operational risks for systems being tested.
“The Commonwealth’s investment will allow us to double the network storage and capacity,” said Maj. Chris Dupin, who oversees the facility and its operations. “Additionally, the installation of a tower will give us radio line-of-site all the way down to Cape Cod.”
The collaborative value of the new facility has been underscored by several potential non-Air Force partners.
“The HCIC represents a significant, new opportunity for collaboration between industry, government, academic and consortia members who are tackling cutting-edge cyber challenges,” said Charlie Benway, executive director of the Advanced Cyber Security Center, a non-profit consortium that brings together industry, university and government organizations to address the most advanced cyber threats. “Those challenges include the advancement of public-private cyber threat information sharing that is absolutely vital to securing our nation’s critical infrastructure, which is under constant attack.”
The Mass. National Guard will be among the many additional users of the HCIC. In fact the Army National Guard will be using the facility for weekend drills starting in January, including hosting a cyber-exercise.
“The Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center will allow for continued growth within the Cyber Security field,” said Major General L. Scott Rice, the adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard. “This effort ties into Massachusetts’s role as a national leader in innovation leading to quality jobs and educational investment.”