Alamo Regional Security Operations Center (ARSOC) strengthens around-the-clock collaboration between the City of San Antonio and CPS Energy to safeguard the community’s power company, municipal operations and other critical infrastructure.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – With mounting cybersecurity attacks around the world targeting critical infrastructure on a daily basis—including energy grids, manufacturing operations, telecommunications, transportation networks and other essential sectors—the Alamo City has created a national model by establishing a joint security operations center that zeroes-in on serving the urgent needs of local communities. This further raises San Antonio's standing as "Cyber City, U.S.A."—home to one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing concentrations of information security expertise.
Today, City of San Antonio officials, along with CPS Energy and Port San Antonio leadership, formally launched the Alamo Regional Security Operations Center (ARSOC).
The new 20,000-square-foot secure facility in the heart of Port San Antonio’s technology innovation campus allows municipal and CPS Energy security teams to work side-by-side and around-the-clock in an integrated space. As a result, the partners will exchange information in real-time as they jointly monitor and thwart potential cyberattacks. Just like hospitals and fire stations, the modern facility even features dormitory rooms for staff to rest if their extended on-site presence is required in an emergency.
The effort will also benefit smaller municipalities and other local governments throughout the region who can tap into the ARSOC's accelerated resource- and information-sharing capabilities. Many recent cyberattacks across the nation have been directed against smaller communities that have limited capacity to monitor and counter such threats; the ARSOC offers a regional collaborative model that others can follow.
The new facility at the Port is only a 10-minute drive from downtown—providing the ARSOC with significant strategic advantages such as proximity to other leading cybersecurity experts and potential collaborators. Among them are a wealth of nationally-important operations at the Port.
The ARSOC is located close to major private-sector and Department of Defense cybersecurity operations that are rapidly growing on the Port campus – allowing for greater collaboration among the region's experts. (map courtesy Port San Antonio)
The Port campus itself is already one of the nation’s principal cybersecurity hubs. In addition to the ARSOC, the 1,900-acre property is home to the 273rd Cyberspace Operations Squadron—part of the Texas Air National Guard which represents the U.S. Cyber Command's team tasked with supporting the 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber). The squadron also supports the State of Texas in responding to cyberattacks against local governments.
The 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) also maintains its headquarters on the Port campus and neighboring JBSA-Lackland, where its security operations center oversees the integrity of digital assets around the world. (photo courtesy U.S. Air Force)
Furthermore, numerous firms at the Port are rapidly expanding as they provide the latest cyber innovations to Department of Defense and an array of other public- and private-sector clients.
The ARSOC will also benefit from Port San Antonio's efforts to grow its innovation ecosystem and strengthen alignment with cyber-focused educational as well as research and development efforts. Central to these will be the upcoming Tech Port Center + Arena. Once construction is completed in the spring of 2022, the new 130,000-square-foot facility will feature a 3,200-seat arena/conference venue, a publicly accessible industry showroom, and collaborative spaces where different industries can work together in the development of new applied technologies in cybersecurity and other disciplines.
The ARSOC will be located close to the Port's planned Innovation Center – providing City of San Antonio, CPS Energy and other cybersecurity experts a dynamic space to train and demonstrate new technologies that are protecting the region's critical infrastructure. (photo courtesy Port San Antonio/RVK Architects.)
The innovation center will provide ARSOC partners with a place to conduct training and public demonstrations to strengthen collaborations within the region, increase the public's understanding of critical infrastructure defense and serve as a showcase for new approaches and the latest best practices in cybersecurity that can be adopted by others.
It will also be an important platform to accelerate and significantly grow regional educational initiatives focused on cybersecurity—from innovative STEM programs for young people launched by Port-based San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT) to advanced training for seasoned professionals within the U.S. Air Force and other entities. These types of initiatives will compliment ARSOC partners’ interests to continually develop the skills of their workforce while identifying new talent.
Area middle schoolers take part in educational programs at SAMSAT’s security operations center simulator in early 2020. The setting, which is very similar to the configuration of the ARSOC, provides students exciting, hands-on experiences and inspires them to follow educational and career paths as the next generation of cybersecurity talent.
In 2020 the San Antonio City Council approved $2.5 million in funding for construction of the ARSOC, which was supported with an additional $1.5 million in funding from CPS Energy. The Port is providing the facility at no cost for a 15-year term—a value of approximately $3 million.