The security challenges facing our nation are many and difficult, but there’s an opportunity to solve some of them in our own backyard.
It’s time for NYC to lead advancements in cybersecurity and emergency response by taking advantage of its only active military installation, Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn. The Army base has enormous potential as an epicenter for efforts to protect our homeland and grow economic opportunity. The base, which dates to 1831, houses NYC’s sole military forces and should remain an Army installation at its core, but we should seek to leverage its capabilities.
Establishing a cybersecurity and first-responder training facility and an incubator to help grow companies in those fields would strengthen counterterrorism preparedness and economic opportunities in our area. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has released its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the borough with this idea included as a core initiative.
Brooklyn has a long history of collaboration with the military and has proved it can reposition military installations to drive employment. We’ve seen the results of what future employment looks like at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, what bio-tech manufacturing and more look like at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and what sports and events have become at Floyd Bennett Field. All provide jobs for NYC residents.
The access to human capital makes Brooklyn an attractive place to retrain and educate a workforce in emergency response and cybersecurity. And with the recent announcement that NYU Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn will offer a cybersecurity master’s degree online, the timing couldn’t be better.
Fort Hamilton could face the threat of closure by the federal Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, which analyzes installations around the country, so it’s important that we bolster its capabilities to make it indispensable to our economy and security. The base can be a hub to educate a generation of cybersecurity and emergency responders, and can help launch businesses that would develop tech defenses to keep our nation safe.
Dan Donovan represents the 11th Congressional District, which includes Brooklyn and Staten Island. Andrew Hoan is the outgoing president and chief executive of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.