Construction on the Madera Cyber Center nears completion

  • Published
  • By Katherine Spessa
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Communications
Construction on the Madera Cyber Innovation Center here is close to completion and the center is expected to open in time for the winter 2025 semester, providing a vital training environment for cadets.

Construction in a Colorado winter
Its construction has been delayed in recent weeks due to typical Colorado weather of high winds, cold snaps and snowfall. However, military construction experts expect they can make up time in the spring and summer months for an on-schedule opening.

“It's snowing outside today, but there are workers inside the building right now working on what they can,” said Maria Ramsey, the Air Force Civil Engineering Center representative for the project. “It really takes a village to complete a project of this scope, and everyone on this project is just awesome.”

State-of-the-art facility
The state-of-the-art, $58 million, 49,000-square-foot facility will include 14 laboratories and classrooms for cadets to learn and research everything cyber, from reverse engineering malware to developing robotics and autonomous systems.

“The new facility will offer a full range of opportunities for cyber cadets to branch out from the zeros and ones to really tangible things,” said Capt. Nathan J. Johnsen, Madera Cyber Innovation Center consumer project manager.

It will also provide a secure area for cadets to interact with intelligence data. This will upgrade and replace the 650-square-foot sensitive compartmented information facility currently used for intelligence briefings at the Academy.

Solving the Air Force’s problems
Johnsen says this will enable cadets to not only get up-to-the-minute intelligence data but also incorporate that data into capstone projects and find solutions to real-world situations that can then be used by the operational force.

“If they’re able to do their capstone in a classified space, they can solve the Air Force’s problems, the Space Force’s problems in a real way,” said Johnsen. “We intend to activate that learning with tangible, operational examples that are meaningful to both the Air Force and the cadet.”

Paid for by private donations as well as military construction funds, the Madera Center expects to welcome up to 600 cadets per day. A team of experts planned the facility in minute detail to ensure a quality learning experience for current cadets and those to come.

“Wow, what an amazing building,” said Brig. Gen. Linell A. Letendre, dean of the faculty, following a recent tour of the facility. “I am so excited for our cadets and faculty to dive into the new opportunities the MCIC will enable. This facility will elevate our ability to contribute to real-world cyber challenges and hone cadets’ preparation for the Great Power Competition.”