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The Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII) was recognized by President Joe Biden and the White House Administration during his address given to the Cybersecurity Summit on August 25, 2021. U.S. public and private sector entities have been attacked in various high-profile cybersecurity incidents by increasingly sophisticated and malicious cyber attackers. President Biden addressed the cybersecurity threats and incidents that are currently affecting the nation and discussed how the government, education, and private sectors can work together to improve the nation’s cybersecurity.
Researchers from Mason’s College of Engineering and Computing are deeply involved with CyManII, and dedicated space at George Mason University’s Arlington Campus serves as the institute's east coast headquarters. The headquarters will house offices, meeting space, and training facilities for the National Capital Region.
“The Arlington facility will include lab space and equipment to demonstrate, test, and validate CyManII’s emerging cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing technologies and products,” says Associate Professor and Vice President for Securing Automation and Supply Chain Paulo Costa. “Our proximity to the Department of Energy and Washington, D.C. will be useful to visitors when we return to in-person meetings and events.”
The 13,000-square-foot facility supports robotic platforms that evaluate security vulnerabilities, the impact of 5G on autonomous vehicles, the power grid, smart buildings and cities, and smart manufacturing. The space will also host a robotic smart manufacturing testbed and provide meeting and temporary office space for visiting researchers and staff.
Mason is participating in road mapping efforts and strategic decisions about investments, technical focus, and projects. Mason faculty will also gain complimentary access to CyManII events, tech showcases and meetings, and participate in the annual RFP (Request for Proposals) competition. Researchers from the College of Engineering and Computing, who are setting up the lab, are playing key roles in CyManII’s first-year projects, finding ways to protect manufacturing automation and supply chains from cyber threats, and designing better security for advanced manufacturing plants.
Funded by the Department of Energy, CyManII addresses the fundamental, hard challenges of cybersecurity within the manufacturing and cybersecurity sectors of our nation’s infrastructure. As mentioned by the White House, the U.S. manufacturing and energy critical infrastructure ecosystems are at high risk to cyber-attacks and thus, makes the U.S. manufacturing sector the number one target for nation-state cyber-attacks.
“CyManII recognizes that to transform the manufacturing industry, we must provide workforce development at scale to reach manufacturers where they exist today to upskill and reskill their workforce,” said CyManII Chief Executive Officer Howard Grimes. “To protect U.S. companies from cyber-attacks, a massive workforce development effort must be launched.”
Investing its technical expertise and efforts into developing a state-of-the-art secure manufacturing architecture called Energy Efficient (ε) Pervasive, Unobtrusive, Resilient, and Economical (ε-PURE), CyManII has begun the work necessary to research, implement and educate manufactures on the evolving threat vectors. This work aims to protect U.S companies from current and future cyber-attacks as well as increase overall equipment energy efficiency to provide manufacturers more productivity and more profit.
“CyManII will introduce new cyber-informed, secure-by-design architectures and we will align the implementation of these architectures, on both legacy and new systems, with a highly trained workforce capable of defending U.S. companies and manufacturers over the next decades,” says Grimes.