Dept. of Public Safety creates new cyber unit, names 1st director

Bobby Freeman will serve as the first director of the Mississippi Cyber Unit, a new unit of the...
Bobby Freeman will serve as the first director of the Mississippi Cyber Unit, a new unit of the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security.(Mississippi Department of Public Safety)
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 11:24 AM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - On Friday afternoon, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety announced the creation of a new cyber unit and named Bobby Freeman as its first cybersecurity director.

“The ability to provide a trustworthy and stable cyber environment is vital to the success of Mississippi,” reads a press release from the MDPS.

The Mississippi Cyber Unit – a component of the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security – will be the state’s centralized cybersecurity threat information, mitigation and incident reporting and response center. This unit will be made up of specialists who focus on preparedness and response.

The strategic plan for the Mississippi Cyber Unit will be focused on monitoring and identifying threats to Mississippi networks, sharing real-time threat intelligence and providing support to cyber incidents within the state.

“Cyber threats are rapidly increasing across the globe,” said Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves. “Mississippi takes these threats seriously and recognizes that there’s never been a more important time to ensure that our state and her people are protected.

“The creation of the Mississippi Cyber Unit is another major step forward in our state’s ongoing effort to counter these emerging threats. Director Freeman and the new unit are well positioned to strengthen our state’s cybersecurity.”

Prior to joining the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, Freeman served full-time as the cyber operations officer for the Mississippi Army National Guard. He has over 20 years of military experience in information technology and security.

“As we navigate an increasingly connected and digital world, the importance of strong cybersecurity cannot be overstated,” said Executive Director of Homeland Security Baxter Kruger. “I am excited to announce the appointment of Bobby Freeman as the first director of the Mississippi Cyber Unit within the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security.

“Director Freeman has a bevy of experience and is well-positioned to build the newly created Mississippi Cyber Unit. Addressing threats to Mississippi’s critical infrastructure and her citizens is my office’s primary focus, and I am confident that under Bobby’s leadership, Mississippians will be better protected from cyber threats than ever before.”

While serving in the National Guard, Freeman mobilized to Iraq in 2009 with the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team as the Company Commander for the Brigade’s Signal Company. He also mobilized domestically with the Mississippi Army National Guard’s Cyber Protection Team detachment in 2018 and 2021.

He earned his Master of Science in Cybersecurity from Liberty University in 2020 and a B.A. from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2005. He has received extensive information technology and cybersecurity training through the military and currently holds industry certifications, including CompTIA’s Advanced Security Practitioner, Security+ and the EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker.

Freeman said that he was looking forward to working with cybersecurity partners in the state.

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