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Merit Network Welcomes New Executive Director of Research and the Michigan Cyber Range

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. is proud to announce that Dr. William J. (Joe) Adams has joined Merit as its Executive Director of Research and the Michigan Cyber Range. He joins Merit after retiring from a 26-year career in the United States Army where he achieved the rank of Colonel.
Dr. Joe Adams
Adams most recent position was CIO of the National Defense University. He has also served as a professor and research scientist at West Point, and network engineer for the Supreme HQ, Allied Powers Europe. He has a Ph.D. in computer engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), MS degrees from the Army War College and University of Arkansas as well as a BS in computer engineering from Syracuse University.

“I am excited for this opportunity to join Merit Network and return to working in the research realm,” said Adams. “Research is something I really enjoy. Merit has an excellent history of networking research and is ideally positioned for collaboration and knowledge transfer with Michigan’s leaders in higher education.”

“Merit Network is thrilled to have someone with Adams’ experience and talent join our team,” said Merit President and CEO, Don Welch. “His extensive cyber security background is unmatched. He is a published researcher, who brings with him excellent working knowledge of both how to conduct research and how to support it.”

One of Adams’ first tasks will be to oversee the implementation of the Michigan Cyber Range. Merit Network is creating a cyber range in conjunction with its Membership that will act as a live testbed for critical cyber security research and innovation. The Michigan Cyber Range will exist on Merit’s backbone, but remain logically distinct from Merit’s network so that cyber security exploration will not impact Merit Member traffic.

With a preliminary design in place, Adams and the Cyber Range team are currently in the fundraising stage of the project. The Michigan Cyber Range is a partnership between entities at the State and Federal level, the private sector and Michigan’s educational community. The State of Michigan has shown interest in the Cyber Range from the Governor’s Office on down. Merit expects the Michigan Cyber Range to be up and running with initial capability by January 2013.

In addition to his Cyber Range responsibilities, Adams will also lead an established Merit Research and Development Team that has made significant contributions to network technology innovation over Merit’s 45-year history. Two current projects that will benefit from his leadership are PREDICT (the Protection Repository for the Defense of Infrastructure against Cyber Threats) and Merit RADb.

PREDICT is an initiative of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology. It provides a community of security-relevant network operations data and researchers in networking and information security. Through its repository, it provides developers and evaluators with regularly updated network operations data relevant to cyber defense technology development.

Merit RADb is a public registry of network routing information that assists with the transfer of data over the Internet. The information in Merit RADb enables organizations to troubleshoot routing problems, automatically configure backbone routers, generate access lists, and perform network planning. Merit’s Research and Development Team issues regular RADb releases with improved features and expanded capabilities. One of Adams’ responsibilities will be to oversee future releases.

Merit expects Research and Development to grow under Adams’ leadership as it continues to make contributions to the global networking community.

“I am looking forward to growing Merit’s research program,” Adams said. “It will grow parallel with the Michigan Cyber Range, but have a broader focus than just cyber security.”

“There is great potential to combine Merit’s research data capture capabilities with the Cyber Range to create datasets for researchers to develop products for anything from intrusion detection systems to firewalls.”

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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