Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Region’s cyber future virtually set with Innovation Center ceremony

Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker warmed a cold 200-plus crowd at the Cyber Innovation Center groundbreaking on Monday. The comedian inside the mayor introduced supporters on stage as he discarded the agenda. The late start and chilly weather inspired the welcomed editing. Only the headliners, Lt. Gen. Bob Elder, commander of the 8th Air Force and recently sworn-in Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, spoke to the crowd prior to the requisite shovel-and-dirt photos.

The crowd consisted mainly of business leaders, military brass, political dignitaries and media. Most huddled inside Bossier Parish Community College until the events started because many came unprepared for the chill sweeping through our southern climate.

Gov. Jindal underlined his position that helping "stand up" Cyber Command at Barksdale Air Force Base is a “top priority” for his administration. He explained that Cyber Command was among the few things he relayed in his meeting with President George W. Bush shortly after his election last year.

General Elder described an inspiring vision for the future of the Air Force built on the wings of the Cyber Command, now established provisionally at Barksdale Air Force Base. Elder is the architect and leader of the effort to expand our country's military dominance of air and space to cyberspace, fighting wars waged in the electromagnetic spectrum.

The groundbreaking for the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City forges another link between the private and public sector to develop new technology to fight wars in cyberspace. Microsoft and other technology corporations are touted as being interested in setting up offices here.

The next big community moment will come when the permanent site for Cyber Command is named. The hope of future generations are betting that Barksdale Air Force Base is the inevitable choice. Listening to the general and the governor speak, the crescendo of all the hype and build-up is only months away.

Photos By Douglas Collier/The Times: 1) Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker directs a group of dignitaries gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Cyber Innovation Center held at the BPCC campus in Bossier City. 2) Senator Mary Landrieu, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and Gov. Bobby Jindal join other dignitaries on stage.

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