NMT Secures $93 Million Contract To Support Air Force Cyber Initiatives
October 28, 2019
SOCORRO, N.M. – New Mexico Tech has secured a seven-year, $93 million contract to assist the Air
Force Research Laboratory explore cyber-related defense initiatives.
The award will involve research, development, evaluation, testing, training and deployment support services for electronic and cyber technology problems.
New Mexico Tech will leverage its deep cyber and technical expertise of faculty, staff scientists and students to accomplish new research initiatives. The project focuses on data analytics for research and development purposes, particularly in the areas of computer science and electrical engineering.
(Pictured at right: New Mexico Tech ICASA scientists working on a complexity problem with software-defined radios.)
New Mexico’s Senior United States Senator Tom Udall led efforts to support the development
of this capability from its inception.
“New Mexico Tech is leading the way to prepare and train U.S. troops for future threats against the nation,” Senator Udall said. “The cyber electronic warfare research and training environment at NM Tech’s Playas facility will be the first of its kind in the nation. I am both proud to have supported the creation of this program in the Appropriations committee, and looking forward to seeing what New Mexico Tech can achieve with this award.”
Furthermore, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich supported this project through his key committee assignments.
“I have long supported partnerships between the Department of Defense and our world-class academic community in New Mexico,” Senator Heinrich said. “The award of this sizable contract not only recognizes the value of training opportunities in our state, but also serves to keep New Mexico and the Air Force at the cutting edge of cyber research and capabilities.”
The focus will be to protect U.S. systems by understanding how sensors embedded into devices that are connected via the “Internet of Things” might be manipulated by U.S. adversaries.
This effort is to conduct research and development in a relevant and realistic cyber and electronic warfare environment for the employment of assets for cyber-kinetic combat effects and Multi-Domain Operations.
It will grow existing capabilities at New Mexico Tech’s Institute for Complex Additive Systems Analysis (ICASA). The project supports AFRL Sensors Directorate research goals in understanding sensing effects across various domains, including air, space, cyber, and ground. Carlos Rey Romero, Associate Vice President for Research is the Principal Investigator and Michael Smith, Director of ICASA is the Co-Principal Investigator for this project.
“Our university is honored that such an award will allow both academic departments and research centers to work collaboratively to improve the security of our nation,” New Mexico Tech President Stephen G. Wells said. “This award reflects recognition of the intellectual capability of our university's faculty and researchers, and New Mexico Tech is proud to have the opportunity to apply our science in the service of our country.”
“We’ve been working on this project for a number of years and it’s wonderful that it’s finally come to fruition,” New Mexico Tech Vice President for Research Van Romero said. “A lot of people have put forth a lot of effort into this and it’s because of this team effort that we were successful in winning one of the biggest contracts in the history of New Mexico Tech.”
The project commences this month and will continue through October 2026.
NMT ICASA recent portfolio or research includes:
- Participation in the NATO Industry Advisory Group on the development of an Information Environment Assessment Tool
- Support for the DOJ and the office of the Bernalillo County District Attorney on leveraging big data analytic tools in crime fighting
- Work with the New Mexico Sentencing Commission on criminal justice reform initiatives.
In recent years, New Mexico Tech has done work for a wide range of private sector and government customers. These include:
- The Department of Homeland Security ($22m annual contract)
- The United States Department of State
- The Department of Defense
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization
– NMT –