In Larnaca, the construction of the new CYCLOPS training center is progressing rapidly.
The Cyprus Center for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security is expected to open its doors in the first half of 2022. According to information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Thursday, September 16, delays due to Covid-19 have been overcome, and the project is currently developing successfully.
As you may know, CYCLOPS is being built within the framework of the tasks outlined in the memorandum of understanding between America and Cyprus, with the aim of further cooperation in the field of defense, which was signed in September 2020 by the countries during the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the island. At the same time, it took about 2.5 years to approve the construction.
A training center, with an area of 1295 m2, is being built in the Larnaca district. The land on which it is being built was allocated by the government of Cyprus. In turn, the US government has pledged to cover all costs for the construction of the new training center, as well as the improvement of the surrounding area, to provide equipment, instructors and other support.
According to the release, the building will have: offices, classrooms, laboratory, auxiliary rooms, reception, cafeteria, security post. In addition, the development plan includes a spacious open-air parking and a park. Photovoltaic panels will be installed on the roof of the building. The training center will be designed for a total of 100 people.
According to preliminary data, the cost of the project is estimated at 5 million euros. The implementation period should be no more than 1 year.
The training center will include several platforms for hands-on training and will cover areas related to the handling and storage of hazardous chemical, biological and radioactive materials, seaport security, and cyber security and border control.
CYCLOPS will enable partners to learn best practices for securing critical infrastructure, as well as participate in cross-border cyber investigations aimed at countering cybercrime. The new center provides for different levels of education.
The ultimate goal is for all trainers in the center to be Cypriots. This is why CYCLOPS will offer a “Train the Trainers” program in which those who have the opportunity to become trainers can take on this responsibility. For Cyprus, a small society with special human resources, the opportunity to transfer know-how and best practice methods to the general public to solve various problems is a significant upgrade of the capacity to ensure the security of society and, of course, EU partners, the Foreign Ministry said.
It should be noted that many countries in the region have already shown interest in cooperation with CYCLOPS. Among them: Egypt, UAE, Jordan, Israel, Oman.
We consider the issue of security in a broad sense. Cybersecurity is an issue that worries everyone. Consequently, all these factors at some stage must have a common denominator in order to provide a common dialogue, general education, and this is what CYCLOPS will soon be able to offer. We are confident that thanks to the new center, there will be an opportunity to develop a dialogue between the government, non-governmental and private sectors. We strive to involve municipalities so that citizens better understand what the hybrid threat means, how you can be vulnerable to various "attacks" that may be subject to bank accounts or themselves, ”the Cyprus Foreign Ministry stressed.
Another sector that is very important for a state like Cyprus is the safety of navigation and ports. Here, according to the Foreign Minister, the Deputy Minister of Shipping may be involved.
Another area of the center's activities will be related to border and customs control, which are very important for Cyprus. We are very interested in preventing the spread of various technologies, dual-use materials and hybrid threats, the Cyprus Foreign Ministry said.
The third sector that CYCLOPS is interested in is its contribution to innovation and much more. In addition to dialogue, it aims to create synergies and product development in the areas of security, cybersecurity, physical security, firefighting and more. By the way, CYCLOPS will not work as an incubator for startups, but it will be an area where synergies between the private and public sectors can take place.
CYCLOPS is under the jurisdiction of the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but requires the involvement of other ministries and deputy ministries that are considered to be stakeholders in the project.
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