Government to build $1.5B cybersecurity data center

NSA will lead the center to be constructed near Salt Lake City

The federal government will spend an estimated $1.5 billion to build a new data center in Utah to support intelligence and defense agencies’ cybersecurity programs, according to state and federal officials.

The National Security Agency will run the center that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said would cost $1.5 billion to build and employ 4,000 to 5,000 people statewide. The facility will be built at the Utah National Guard’s Camp Williams, near Salt Lake City.

Glenn Gaffney, deputy director of national intelligence for collection, announced the project Oct. 23 in Utah and he was joined by elected officials from the state. “The new data center we are announcing today will support the intelligence community’s mission in providing foreign intelligence about cybersecurity threats,” Gaffney said.

Gaffney also said the center would also be used for information assurance efforts related to Defense Department networks and to provide technical assistance for the Homeland Security Department as it works to secure the government’s civilian networks.

“By better understanding the threat, we will also learn valuable lessons that will assist the private sector, dot-com and dot-org, in securing their own networks,” Gaffney said. “This data center will be a critical asset in each of these missions and we will accomplish this in full compliance with the U.S. Constitution and federal law and while observing strict guidelines that protect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.”

However, Gaffney declined to provide specifics about what kind of work would be performed at the center. “I can say that it is—the reason why we are doing the center is because of the deep level of technical expertise that’s needed to understand the nature of the threats,” he added.

There will be an industry day for the project Nov. 5 in Salt Lake City, according to a notice published on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site by the Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District. The corps estimated the facility will be a million square feet, of which 100,000 will be data center space and 900,000 would be technical support and administrative space.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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