The Army command dedicated to defending against hackers and other online threats celebrated its move into a new $366 million headquarters in Georgia on Thursday.
Created a decade ago, the Army Cyber Command had been spread across Army installations in three states before consolidating at Fortitude Hall, its new home at Fort Gordon in Augusta. Plans to bring the entire command together under one roof had been in the works for seven years.
“It’s not just a physical move. It’s not just a nice new facility,” Lt. Gen Stephen Fogarty, the commander of Army Cyber Command, told reporters on a conference call Thursday. He called the headquarters “a purpose-filled cyber weapons system.”
Fogarty was joined during a dedication ceremony by Army Under Secretary James McPherson and Gen. Paul Nakasone, who serves as commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency.
McPherson noted the move brings the Army’s cyber soldiers, commanders and trainees together at Fort Gordon, which is also home to an NSA facility.
“The cyber domain in the most recent one, it’s the one that changes the most rapidly and it it is the one we must learn to not only compete in but dominate in with our near-peer competitors,” McPherson said.
The U.S. military established the Army Cyber Command in 2010 after the Defense Department declared cyberspace a new domain for warfare, citing rising threats from hackers backed by foreign governments and online attackers acting independently. The command oversees about 16,500 soldiers, civilians and contract workers worldwide.
According to the Army, the Cyber Command headquarters will bring about 1,200 additional soldiers and civilian workers to Fort Gordon. Fogarty said all of them should be in place within the next year. Fortitude Hall spans 336,000 square feet (31,215 square meters) and is equipped with more than 300 servers.
Before the consolidation, elements of the Army Cyber Command were also based in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and Fort Meade, Maryland. At Fort Gordon, the Army now has its electronic warfare and defense units based at the same installation used for training new cyber soldiers and providing them with continuing education.
The headquarters dedication on Thursday was largely symbolic. Army Cyber Command’s leader, Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, and his command staff have been working at Fort Gordon since July.