ANN ARBOR — Gov. Rick Snyder cut the ribbon Friday on the Michigan Cyber Range, a resource that prepares cybersecurity professionals in the detection and prevention of cyber attacks in a real-world setting.

The new initiative pairs cybersecurity resources with hands-on training opportunities to enhance Michigan’s protection of computer systems and sensitive data.

“Every day, breaches to computer systems threaten the security of data — data that may include personal information about Michigan’s citizens,” Snyder said. “This partnership to establish the Michigan Cyber Range benefits all levels of government as well as educational systems, private businesses and industry.”

Hosted by Merit Network, the Michigan Cyber Range enables individuals and organizations to develop detection and reaction skills through simulations and exercises. The program offers students and IT professionals a full curriculum of meetings and workshops as well as critical cybersecurity training and awareness tools.

The new cyber range serves as a central resource hub and a partner in innovation and collaboration. Critical areas that will benefit from the creation of the Michigan Cyber Range include:
* Infrastructure defense
* Homeland security
* Criminal justice and law enforcement
* Academic and educational programs and curricula related to information and communications technology (ICT)
* Entrepreneurial, small and medium businesses in the private sector

“The cyber threat is certainly one of the – if not the – largest threat that we face today,” said Don Welch, President and CEO of Merit Network. “In a cyber attack, we must rely on trained professionals, and the new cyber range provides a unique training experience that cannot be replicated in other settings. It’s important to arm cyber professionals with training and the most current resources available, and that’s exactly what we are doing with this effort.”

Students using the cyber range will be able to perform laboratory exercises and out-of-class work that uses the cyber range’s virtual environment and text, video chat and web conferencing capabilities.

“The Michigan Cyber Range will provide a capability not found anywhere else in the world,” said John Nixon, director of the state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget. “In Michigan, we have a governor who understands the importance of safeguarding our resources. His commitment will ensure that a broad range of cybersecurity professionals have access to current methods and resources.”

Initially, the cyber range’s physical assets will be housed at Eastern Michigan University with additional sites planned for Ferris State University in Big Rapids and the 110th Airlift Wing in Battle Creek. With additional funding, expansion plans could involve as many as 10 sites. More information on the Michigan Cyber Range can be found at

Michigan Cyber Range partners include Merit Network, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, National Institute of Standards and Technology, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Plante and Moran PLLC, Juniper Networks, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State Police, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Michigan Economic Development Corp., and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Merit Network, a nonprofit corporation governed by Michigan’s public universities, owns and operates America’s longest running regional research and education network and supports the high-performance networking needs of Michigan’s universities, colleges, K-12 schools, libraries, state government, health care and other nonprofit organizations.


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