Alabama Can Lead in Economic Development with Cyber Connection

The former U.S. Air Force commander and president of the U.S. Air Force’s Air University today told Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce members that the joint civilian-military Cyber Connection-Internet Exchange in Montgomery will have a significant economic impact on Alabama.

Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander of the Air Education and Training Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, and the immediate-past commander and president of Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, touted the Cyber Connection-Internet Exchange that aligns military, public, and private partners that was designed to power economic development, research, and innovation for Alabama.

Kwast, who assumed his new role in Texas in November, gave a farewell speech to the Montgomery Chamber at today’s membership breakfast, which was co-sponsored by the Business Council of Alabama.

The Montgomery Cyber Connection-Internet Exchange is physically located in the Retirement Systems of Alabama’s Dexter Avenue Datacenter. Montgomery is one of only four sites in the Southeast with an Internet exchange. Being physically located in Alabama will speed content delivery by not having to use exchanges outside the state.

The exchange partnership with Akamai Technologies was located in Montgomery because of the global significance of the new Cyber College at Air University and because of local public and private partnerships in support of the military, the Montgomery Chamber said.

The Montgomery Cyber Connection links Alabama’s universities in research collaboration, to support the new Air University Cyber College mission to strengthen national defense, and stimulates business development and tech startups.

Gen. Kwast was one of only a handful of three-star generals in Alabama. In his current position, the 1986 U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and former fighter pilot is responsible for recruiting, training, and educating Air Force commissioned officers and enlisted men and women.