Cyber growth should include North Augusta and SC, says Fort Gordon commander

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Oct. 7—The growth of the cyber industry should not be bounded by the border between Georgia and South Carolina, the commander of Fort Gordon said Thursday, underlining the value of partnerships with the Palmetto State and its institutions.

"There's a public-private benefit to ops and training that we're benefitting from across the greater Central Savannah River Area, or the CSRA, also known as the Fort Gordon district," Brig. Gen. Paul Stanton said at a briefing with S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and other military leaders. "And some like to call it the cybersecurity capital of the world, which it may become, if we are smart about it."

In particularly strategic position is North Augusta. In late August, North Augusta Mayor Briton Williams described his city as "literally a suburb of Fort Gordon": a roughly 25-minute ride from the home of the Army's Cyber Center of Excellence, a hop across the Savannah River from the Georgia Cyber Center, and near the prospective DreamPort cybersecurity complex championed by the S.C. National Guard.

"Our argument is that the river doesn't need to be the boundary," Stanton said at the Commander's Briefing on Thursday. "We can easily extend that partnership across the river, into North Augusta."

Such collaboration would generate jobs in a highly technical field and in rings of knock-on development — the type of community-building investment leaders on this side of the river find so attractive.

"As we look at the riverbank, and the growth of North Augusta, we think that there are real opportunities to continue that evolution," Stanton said, noting that thousands of forecasted jobs "can and should be within South Carolina." About 4,500 South Carolinians already commute to Fort Gordon on a daily basis, by the commander's count; many more could.

S.C. Department of Veterans' Affairs Secretary Will Grimsley on Thursday said the growth is well appreciated. And the opportunities now on the table, he suggested, should be leveraged.

"We'd all rather have it at Fort Gordon than Fort Meade," in Maryland, Grimsley said.

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