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U.S. Space & Rocket Center receives FBI Community Leadership Award for Cyber Camp partnership

HUNTSVILLE — The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Birmingham Division, in a formal presentation at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, bestowed the U.S. Space & Rocket Center with its Community Leadership Award in recognition of the agency’s partnership in the U.S. Cyber Camp.

Last year, the Rocket Center entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the FBI to develop a curriculum for the U.S. Cyber Camp, which provides students with the education to develop knowledge of the FBI’s mission as it relates to cybercrime.

For this partnership, the Rocket Center was chosen as the 2021 recipient of the FBI’s Birmingham field office’s Community Leadership Award for its support of the law enforcement agency’s mission of protecting the public and supporting national security interests.

In the presentation, FBI Birmingham Division special agent in charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr. hailed the agency’s partnership with the Rocket Center.

“[W]henever you hear U.S. Cyber Camp, we want that to be synonymous with the FBI,” said Sharp. “There was a statement made when we signed the MOU last October that we want the curriculum of the U.S. Cyber Camp – the FBI to be to part of the DNA [o]f that agreement. As was noted here today, the FBI has a leading role in terms of protecting the American public when it comes to cybercrimes.”

Sharp went on to explain the difficulty of attracting talent to the law enforcement agency, citing the nation’s leading technology companies’ ability to provide higher salaries than the government can offer. He noted that the U.S. Cyber Camp serves as a vital recruiting tool in attracting potential candidates to carry out the FBI’s cybercrime mission.

“We couldn’t think of any better partner to have than the U.S. Cyber Camp to try to sew the seed in these young folks early on that maybe they want to have a life of service once they graduate college,” the agent added. “While we can’t pay as much money as say Silicon Valley does, for example, they will have a very rich and rewarding career serving their country and protecting the American public in providing national security for our country.”

In accepting the recognition from the FBI, U.S. Space & Rocket Center CEO and executive director Dr. Kimberly Robinson expressed her appreciation to the law enforcement agency for its collaboration with the U.S. Space Camp.

“We are honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award, particularly from such a distinguished agency as the FBI, which is chartered to protect and defend our nation, that has a high calling and a noble mission,” said Robinson. “The FBI’s partnership in our Cyber Camp and Cyber Academy programs is critical to our important work of training the next generation of cyber warriors.”

Robinson touted the role its U.S. Cyber Camp played in fostering the country’s future leaders in the critical field.

“Cyber Camp is engaging minds in cyber security and introducing them to the roles they can play in keeping our communities, our country and world safe from cyber threats,” she added. “The FBI has been with us from the very early days of program development, [a]s we apply the Space Camp formula of leadership, teamwork and critical thinking to the challenge of cyber security.”

In closing, Robinson projected a bright future for the partnership the Rocket Center holds with the FBI and expressed excitement over the agency’s expansion into Huntsville.

“We are thrilled to see the FBI presence in the Rocket City continue to grow and look forward to our partnership growing and strengthening as well. [I]t is partnerships like this that give us the tools to do our best work for those who come to us seeking knowledge and direction. Thank you again for this great honor. Together, we can change lives and change the world,” she concluded.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL