The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) today announced the selection of U.S. Air Force (USAF) Brigadier General (Ret.) Guy M. Walsh as the founding executive director of its National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC). The NSCC, a core initiative in UTSA’s Downtown Campus expansion, will advance research, education and workforce development in cybersecurity, data analytics and cloud computing while anchoring the creation of an emerging high-tech corridor to support San Antonio’s future.
Walsh brings a wealth of experience in building strategic alliances between federal and state government, academia and industry partners. He is among the nation’s foremost leaders in national security as the strategic initiatives lead for U.S. Cyber Command, the Department of Defense’s newest Combatant Command, which is co-located with the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort George Meade, Md. His expertise includes cybersecurity operations, international affairs and partnerships, risk mitigation and crisis response, strategic planning and execution, and local and state emergency management.
“Simply put, Guy Walsh is a highly successful, highly disruptive leader whose steady hand has transformed our nation’s cyber strategy. He’s the kind of leader that universities dream about recruiting,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “By working closely with the partners in our National Security Collaboration Center and by tapping his robust network of government, university and industry leaders, in addition to pursuing and securing cooperative agreements and grants for UTSA, Guy will be an integral player in establishing San Antonio as the nation’s top producer of research and workforce talent in data intelligence and cybersecurity.”
In 2011, Walsh was handpicked by the NSA’s director and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command to operationalize cyber as the newest combat organization in the Department of Defense. His strategic vision led to the creation of Cyber Command’s Guard and Reserve Directorate in 2011, where he established numerous partnership and policy initiatives in collaboration with senior officials on the national security staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Guard Bureau, National Governors Association, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice.
In 2015, Walsh was a founding member and deputy director of the Capabilities Development group, charged with integrating USCYBERCOM’s prioritized cyberspace capability development to rapidly deliver joint operational products and services required for generating, facilitating and monitoring effects in and through cyber space. He was also a founding member, co-developer and champion for CYBER GUARD, a Tier 1 level exercise to develop a “whole of nation” (federal, state and private sectors) response to cyber threats to U.S. critical infrastructure and key resources.
“Guy Walsh is laser focused on leading well trained and ready government-university-industry collaborations to defend and protect the nation,” said Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise. “His collaborative approach will help create the foundation of our National Security Collaboration Center, a powerful knowledge ecosystem that is cohesively tackling the nation’s greatest most pressing challenges in national security and global defense.”
In addition to his national security expertise, Walsh has significant military operational experience. A career A-10 Close Air Support pilot, Walsh graduated from the USAF Academy, serving as a flight, squadron and group commander prior to his appointment as the commander of the Air Force’s 175th Wing, part of the Maryland National Guard. While overseeing the Maryland group’s war fighting and emergency readiness from 2002 to 2009, Walsh led the Maryland Air National Guard response to support Hurricane Katrina operations in Louisiana and Mississippi.
In June 2009, Walsh was appointed by President Obama and the Secretary of the Air Force to serve as the inaugural commander of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) in Kandahar, Afghanistan. As the senior Air Force commander delivering airpower for U.S and NATO combat operations in Afghanistan, the 451st Wing was composed of 1,400 personnel charged with conducting full-spectrum combat air operations in support of 100,000 U.S. and coalition forces. Under his leadership, the 451st AEW provided close air support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, tactical airlift and airdrop, aero medical evacuation, command and control and combat search and rescue operations throughout Afghanistan.
“It is an honor and privilege to lead UTSA’s National Security Collaboration Center,” said Walsh. “My recent team building experiences commanding combat operations in Afghanistan and being on the ground floor in establishing the U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade have prepared me well for mapping a path for government, industry and academic to collaboratively deliver outcomes improving national security. I’m eager to connect with the San Antonio community – Cyber City, USA – and build on UTSA’s track record as a leader in cyber innovation.”
Walsh joins UTSA at a time of immense growth. The university, which is home to the nation’s top cybersecurity program, defends cyber space through creative approaches in business, science, engineering, and liberal and fine arts. Five centers and institutes advance that work, which focuses on solving global security challenges in today’s increasingly technological world.
The National Security Collaboration Center is giving government, university and industry entities the ability to collaborate on scientific investigations and business enterprises by providing research laboratories with state-of-the-art hardware and software; a computational innovation factory and business incubator to develop prototypes and concepts for the public good; a visualization laboratory to translate big data into images for large-scale, high resolution digital walls; and a high-performance computing center to support the research and development of algorithms and systems for addressing computational and data-intensive problems.
San Antonio is home to one of the largest concentrations of cybersecurity experts and industry leaders outside Washington, D.C., which uniquely positions the city and UTSA to lead the nation in cybersecurity research and workforce development.
Walsh begins his new role at UTSA immediately.