5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

Summary: Although this site is still arguably smaller than what Google or Amazon operate, it's going to be an important part of our national defense.

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke ground last week on what promises to be one of front lines in America's defense against cyber attack, Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative Data Center.

Gallery: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

While much of what's going on at the Camp Williams, Utah construction site can't be discussed, there are some amazing details you might find interesting.

Fact #5: Thousands of new construction jobs, but only a few permanent jobs

While the facility will bring 5,000 to 10,000 new construction jobs to the Utah project, only about 100 to 200 permanent jobs will be created on-site. Those folks who make the cut to work at the data center, of course, could include ZDNet readers, so go ahead and dust off your resumes.

Fact #4: The facility will be big, a million square feet big

Even though the raised floor server room facilities will only be about 100,000 (only!) square feet, another 900,000 square feet has been allocated to administrative staff.

To give you a rough idea of how that compares, the Pentagon is about 6.6 million square feet and is one of the biggest buildings in the world. The new Utah Data Center will be about a sixth its size.

Put another way, it's about the size of 20 football fields.

Fact #3: It will be able to be self-sufficient

Data centers are often power hogs. Undoubtedly the Utah Data Center will also consume a tremendous amount of power. The big difference: the Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative Data Center will be able to generate all of its own power through backup generators.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers (PDF):

Support facilities include an electrical sub-station, a vehicle inspection facility and visitor control center, fuel storage, water storage, and chiller plant.

Fact #2: The facility will be environmentally friendly

The U.S. Green Building Council has developed a series of environmental rating levels that rate how green new buildings are. This certification system is called LEED, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

There are different LEED ratings. Second from the bottom is LEED Silver, which is what the Utah Data Center is aiming for. Now, don't misinterpret LEED Silver as bad by any means. While the top LEED rating, Platinum, essentially means the building can essentially pass gas that can create a new Garden of Eden, any LEED rating is a far improvement over the environmental sustainability of most modern buildings.

So, for a data center of the size of the Utah Data Center to be LEED Silver is a big accomplishment -- if they actually earn the rating once the facility is built.

Fact #1: Information Redacted

Wow! The number one amazing fact is, in fact amazing. It's just sad that I can't share it with you. Sorry, some things have to remain secret and I'd have to have someone kill you if I told you.

That said, I can tell you what the National Security Council's The Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative says are the goals of the CNCI:

  • To establish a front line of defense against today’s immediate threats by creating or enhancing shared situational awareness of network vulnerabilities, threats, and events within the Federal Government—and ultimately with state, local, and tribal governments and private sector partners—and the ability to act quickly to reduce our current vulnerabilities and prevent intrusions.
  • To defend against the full spectrum of threats by enhancing U.S. counterintelligence capabilities and increasing the security of the supply chain for key information technologies.
  • To strengthen the future cybersecurity environment by expanding cyber education; coordinating and redirecting research and development efforts across the Federal Government; and working to define and develop strategies to deter hostile or malicious activity in cyberspace.

Stay tuned. Although this site is still arguably smaller than what Google or Amazon operate, it's going to be an important part of our national defense.

See also: Datacenter for the paranoid

Topics: Enterprise Software, Data Centers, Government, Government US, Hardware, Security, Storage

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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18 comments
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  • Well, If people like Assange had his way I'm sure

    he'd be more then happy to tell the cybercriminals anything they wanted to know about it should he discover something. ;)
    John Zern
    • Assange only cares about political schemes and lies that are done ...

      ... <b>on behalf of American people</b> who actually never voted for that kind of deeds.<br><br>Nothing to do with helping cybercriminals.
      DDERSSS
      • So you're saying you're fine

        with classified military and defensive information getting out (launch codes, weaknesses in hardware, countermeasure plans or travel itinerary) getting out as long as some info on some lies get out along with it?
        John Zern
      • Did not see that much in Assange's leaks

        @johnzern: but no, that kind of leaks is not welcomed, of course.<br><br>The lies thing -- yes; as Assange said, "the more secretive or unjust an organisation is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie.... Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance."<br><br>Seems quite reasonable and balanced position, nothing off the wall.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

        @denisrs, Wikileaks shouldn't be publishing private conversations. In a free society people should have the right to debate and offer their honest opinions in private - without worrying it will become front page news. Everyone has a right to some privacy - including the government.

        Only in totalitarian societies are people afraid to say what they feel. Wikileaks may seem like a heroic org unless you really think about what they're releasing. If you're exposing something illegal or immoral that's one thing, but if you're exposing diplomatic opinions that's just wrong.
        SMparky
      • Remember Nixon ousting story and 2008 war in South-Ossetia

        @SMparky: a whole lot of private talks were exposed and lots of instructions broken by these who made the "Gate" scandal public that made Nixon to retire. So publishing talks is not always wrong -- it depends.<br><br><b>For example</b>, Wikileaks' USA diplomacy data shown that Foreigh Office (Secretaty of State) fooled the public back in August 2008 about small war in South-Ossetia to frighten voters before 2008 presidential elections. Diplomats knew from very beginning what was happenning -- Georgia broke UNO-regulated peace and attacked Sauth-Ossetia, while Russia as official peace guarantor was obligated by three-side, UNO-authorised peace deal to protect the attacked side and to stop the aggressor -- and diplomats reported accordingly to Washington; the leaked documents show that.<br><br>But they lied publicly to USA people to scare them and to influence 2008 elections that Russia is the crazy bear which attacks small "democratic" Georgia, hence "softie" Obama does not fit to the fight this.
        DDERSSS
    • RE: 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

      @John Zern Where a conversation is between public servants or elected public servants, and the conversation reveals activities that are suspect, then of course, it is every citizen's right to know what their public servants are going to do with their nation.

      Assange has not jeopardized any operation, or any nation's security. That would be more the work of USA's powers that be.
      undrkvabrtha
  • At last! A blog about the government on the ZDNET Government blog

    900,000 square feet for 100-200 people? Isn't that a little much?
    Beat a Dead Horse
    • RE: 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

      @Beat a Dead Horse

      No, they need some storage for hamburgers. You think they're gonna put skinny people in that building ? Hell no!
      TxM2xTx
  • Excellent

    Now USA will have super installation to spy in ever person on the planet ..... great we better check our email and what we say .... or will go straight to guantalamo

    Well it was in shape of thing to come.
    Quebec-french
  • RE: 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

    It is more likely, given the current assault on personal privacy, that this center will be a center for National Offense vs National Defense.

    Remember, in the current clime, Americans are to blame for everything and the current regime agrees with that verdict...

    Therefore, right to free speech, right to assembly and all the other Constitutional Freedoms must go.

    Nesxt there will be an exceutive order telling the FCC via the Comerce Dept. to identify and issue a National Cyber ID to everyone using the Internet or be banned at your ISP from access...
  • RE: 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

    Zern: Are you an idiot, or do you suppose the state department is? If launch codes were being sent in diplomatic cables from our overseas embassies to Washington, they DESERVE to be compromised!
    decryobliviots
  • RE: 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

    Soo...you can't tell us that that the entire internet backbone will be rerouted to pass through the facility, and that the operators will record every byte that passes through?
    decryobliviots
  • RE: 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

    This F-ing sucks!! Why do we need "Big Brother" telling us what website we can not go to? We "WILL" have to pay more & get less just like Iran & China!!<br><br>Million square feet & only about 10 or 20 permanent jobs!
    calbeljaz
  • NSA/CSS INFOSEC? FBI Cyber, CI?

    David, thanks for keeping us informed. But I would like some more analysis on the impact of a new organization on existing ones, redundancy, and efficiency.

    For example, does this mean that NSA/CSS will cede its INFOSEC authority to CNCI? (Presumably so it can focus on SIGINT.) Same for FBI and Cyber Division? (Presumably so it can focus on law enforcement and counter-intelligence.) If not, then will this create unnecessary redundancy and only slow things down?

    Basically the same questions that arose when DNI was created.
    MKIceman
  • RE: 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

    Hmm... Only 100-200 permanent jobs, and 900,000 sq ft of space for staff? And the author doesn't question that? What organization devotes 450-900 sq ft of space to techies? So maybe we are looking at another secret here? Do you think?
    guywayne
  • Wow - 9000 sq. ft. cubicles!

    If they have only 100 permanent workers, with 900,000 sq. feet of administrative office space, then each worker will have a 9000 sq. ft. cubicle. 200 workers, the higher of the 2 numbers mentioned, would each get 4500 sq. feet. Why?
    steve@...
  • RE: 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center

    Americans are psychotics.
    JeremyBoden