Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research Reception

Honoring Fred Cate and Von Welch
Atrium, Innovation Center
IU Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana
August 1, 2014


Thank you, Brad (Wheeler).

I am truly delighted to be here today to help celebrate success of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, now in its 11th year, and to mark the transition in leadership as we celebrate the outstanding service of the center’s founding director, Fred Cate, and welcome the center’s new director, an eminent authority on cybersecurity in his own right, Von Welch.

The Genesis of CACR

During the time I served as Brad’s predecessor as vice president for IT, many of you who are here today (and many other people across the university) worked together to strengthen and improve the security of IU’s IT environment in the face of what were increasingly complex threats. In the process, IU established a truly formidable capacity in operational cybersecurity, particularly in the context of higher education.

But, despite those operational strengths, we did not have a major academic or research concentration in cybersecurity. There were some exceptions, including the research of the Advanced Network Management Laboratory in the Pervasive Technology Labs, but, in general, IU did not have a major academic or research concentration in the field.

There were, however, a number of individuals and units at IU—including Accounting and Information Systems, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Informatics, and SPEA—who were interested in or were actively working on cybersecurity matters.

I believed that we had an opportunity to leverage our operational strengths by creating a center, possibly the first of its kind in higher education, where research and practice in cybersecurity would be intimately intertwined.

We wanted to bring together the people who had day-to-day responsibility for cybersecurity across the university with faculty pursuing cybersecurity research. Each aspect would inform the other. The center would allow us to get the operational people in the classroom, it would enable researchers to react to practitioners’ needs, and it would enable our faculty to more effectively teach practical security.

In the fall of 2002, I invited a number of people from across the university to a meeting to gauge interest in establishing a university-wide research center that would allow IU to focus its cybersecurity efforts.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, and, as you all know, that center was established as the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, and today we celebrate its tremendous success over its first 11 years.

Fred Cate: More Than A Decade Of Outstanding Leadership

Fred Cate, of course, was in attendance at that first meeting. When the meeting concluded, I asked Fred to stay behind and I then asked him to serve as the center’s founding director.

He was reluctant to accept. He argued that he had little technical background and knew little about cybersecurity. Of course, the latter was far from being the case. Fred specialized in information law issues, particularly in the context of digital networks. He had already testified before Congress, directed the Electronic Information Privacy and Commerce Study for the Brookings Institution, and he had chaired many academic and professional committees relating to cybersecurity issues.

I told him that, in my view, he had the perfect background. We wanted to approach cybersecurity from more than just a technical perspective, and we needed a founding director who could build a center to help address the full range of cyber challenges. We also needed someone who could work well with industry and government, and Fred had more than proven his abilities in that regard. And, as I also told Fred at the time, the challenges related to cybersecurity were just emerging, and whoever was appointed as director would have to learn on the fly.

Fortunately, Fred accepted. He was, of course, an outstanding choice, and he has, as you all know, become a pre-eminent and internationally respected authority on cybersecurity—and one who has helped to shape the national policy discussion in this vitally important field.

He has been actively engaged in advising government and industry leaders—in fact, he has testified nearly 50 times before legislative or governmental agencies and has participated in hundreds of panels and conferences.

He advised the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and Barack Obama on privacy matters.

He has been named to Computerworld’s list of “Best Privacy Advisors” three times.

And, of course, you heard Brad talk about some of the many successes of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research during Fred’s tenure as director. Under Fred’s excellent leadership, the center truly has developed into a national leader in the scholarship of cybersecurity.

During Fred’s tenure as founding director, CACR has generated more than $15 million in direct research funding from a diverse range of sources, including the Lilly Endowment, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and industry.

Fred’s research and expertise truly have brought great distinction to CACR and to Indiana University. While we will miss his superb leadership of CACR, I am delighted that he has agreed to remain affiliated with the center as a senior fellow.

Leadership For The Future: Von Welch

We are also very fortunate that Von Welch, a highly regarded cybersecurity researcher in his own right, is succeeding Fred as the center’s director.

Von has served since early 2011 as the center’s deputy director.

When he came to IU, he brought with him an extensive background in cybersecurity. He was the founding co-director of the Cybersecurity Directorate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, based at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. He also serves as director and principal investigator for the Center for Trustworthy Scientific Cyberinfrastructure, which provides cybersecurity assistance and guidance to projects funded by the National Science Foundation.

Von has worked with a range of high-visibility projects to provide cybersecurity to the broader scientific and engineering community, including TeraGrid and Open Science Grid.

I am confident that Von will continue to enhance the center’s national reputation.

Conclusion: Introducing Von Welch

As we mark this important milestone in the life of the center, I extend my congratulations to Fred, to Von, and to the many IU faculty and staff whose contributions have helped to ensure the center’s success.

And now, it is my pleasure to introduce the new director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. Would you please join me in welcoming Von Welch?