Sen. Cornyn speaks about growing cyber security threats at School of Data Science

Gauri Raje, News Editor

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) visited UTSA’s School of Data Science to participate in a roundtable discussion about the impact of the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act. 

The Act, which was sponsored by Cornyn and co-authored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), allows “the Department of Homeland Security to work with one or more consortia composed of nonprofit entities to develop, update, and deliver cybersecurity training in support of homeland security.” 

A press release issued by the university explains that the Act specifically allows the Department of Homeland Security to work with the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC), which includes the UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS), to develop cybersecurity training and curriculum, among other things.

Cornyn also took a tour of the new $90 million facility that houses the School of Data Science and its National Security Collaboration Center, which is scheduled to open in early 2023.

The event concluded with a press conference, where Cornyn highlighted the importance of cybersecurity in the context of “open societies,” where the internet has become such an essential aspect of daily functioning. 

Our adversaries use it for information warfare,” Cornyn said. “They use our openness as a vulnerability to attack us for a variety of purposes … and so, cybersecurity is vitally important to our country, to our state and to the world — to the democracies in the world.”

Referring to cyber security as a “modern challenge,” Cornyn went on to talk about the role UTSA is playing in developing and promoting cybersecurity curriculum. 

“And the critical role UTSA will continue to play, not only as an institution that convenes all these various elements that are critical to cyber preparedness, but also to prepare the students for the workforce of tomorrow,” Cornyn said. “These are highly skilled jobs. They are not minimum-wage jobs. They pay very well, but we don’t have enough qualified people to perform these jobs and so that’s why the work being done here at UTSA is so critical.”

Cornyn further expressed the importance of collaboration between higher education, the private sector and the government regarding cyber security, adding that he hopes the new legislation will further promote this collaboration.

“It’s really impressive to me to see what San Antonio’s been able to do — [to] attract the airforce, to attract the national security agency, but also to see UTSA build a world-class education system and encourage the kind of collaboration that is absolutely necessary between the government, between higher education, between the private sector — in order to deal with this threat,” Cornyn said.