Randy Yohe Published

Marshall University’s New Cyber Security Institute Poised To Become National Leader

Several men in suits signing a bill into law
Signing House Bill 117 into law.
WV Governor's Office

In a press conference and bill signing at Marshall University (MU) on Tuesday, school president Brad Smith said university and state leaders have been working since 2016 to establish a state-of-the-art Institute for Cyber Security.

“We said we need to look into the future,” Smith said. “What are the greatest secular trends? What are the greatest unsolved problems that our world is wrestling with, that we as West Virginians have proven that we can be distinctive, we can be excellent, and we can bring solutions to those problems. And when doing so we strengthen our own economy and prepare a better tomorrow for our next generation. Cybersecurity was at the top of that list.”

Gov. Jim Justice signed House Bill 117 into law that invests $45 million taxpayer dollars into the program.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, said that he and Smith had the opportunity recently to spend an afternoon with a defense contractor in Seattle, Washington. 

“And the leader of our tour there that day said that it was their mission to defend America, on sea, on air, on land, in space, and in cyberspace,” Hanshaw said. “It takes a new kind of a new kind of professional to defend our country against the kinds of threats that we will face because those threats come in new ways today.”  

The proposed downtown Huntington facility will house state-of-the-art cyber security technology and training programs and become the cyber locus, where industry from throughout Appalachia and the country will find training, mentoring and learn the most up-to-date cyber trends.

Smith noted that U.S. News and World Report has said the best job right now in America is a cyber security job.  

There are 714,000 open positions for people with these credentials today,” Smith said. “It’s projected that from now to 2031, the job growth in cyber security will grow by 35 percent.”

Smith said the new institute will position the university at the national forefront of cyber defense and research.

Click here for more details on the Marshall University Institute for Cyber Security.