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Critical installations such as energy assets are vulnerable to cyber threats. The Louisiana energy infrastructure will be equipped with a digital dome to protect it from cyber-attacks. 

Stephenson Technologies (STC), the applied research entity of Louisiana State University (LSU), has won a $25 million federal contract for groundbreaking work to protect Louisiana’s energy infrastructure. Specifically, the award from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Naval 

Research Laboratory will create a digital dome protecting Port Fourchon and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port. 

The system will collect, interpret and fuse electromagnetic signals. Cyber threats will be identified and removed, while intelligence about nautical risks will be shared with coastal enforcement agencies to protect people, vessels and cargo. 

“Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this project is we first envisioned it on our economic development mission to Israel in 2018,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “In viewing the Iron Dome that Israel created to protect its air defense systems, we glimpsed what Stephenson Technologies Corporation could create to protect our nation’s most vital energy gateway at Port Fourchon. Not only will this project provide critical protection for the U.S. energy supply, STC’s work will advance Louisiana’s growing base of cybersecurity and IT talent.” 

STC will design and build the digital dome to protect those assets and the people who operate them. The dome will be known as the Port Urban and Nautical Unified Shield, or PORTUNUS. 

The system will have a direct impact on major intelligence agencies within the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Domain Awareness environment, as well as the intelligence operations of the four military services. It will be designed to create cyber-secure efficiencies in the processes of collecting information from available database sources and analyzing it to produce actionable intelligence in a single pane of glass. 

Beyond defense and intelligence missions, the project technology could provide better protection for agencies involved in homeland security, disease control, monetary policy, human trafficking and drug enforcement activities, according to sciencex.com.