The ceremonial groundbreaking event for the Cyprus Center for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security (CYCLOPS), took place in Larnaca on Monday.
The €4 million training facility will include a number of different hands-on training platforms, including a mock land border crossing, passenger screening area, and a mobile cyber security training laboratory.
“These training platforms will serve as a hub that works in close coordination and association with partner countries in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and elsewhere,” Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf said during the ceremony.
The U.S.-funded center will also enable regional partners to learn best practices for securing critical infrastructure and to engage in cross border, counterproliferation cyber investigations.
Wolf said the center will mirror a similar facility that the US State Department has maintained in Central America for over a decade.
He called the center an important result of a renewed American engagement in the Eastern Mediterranean region and “of the strong relationship between the United States and Republic of Cyprus.”
On his part, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said talks are ongoing with officials from the US and the European Security and Defense College to expand the center’s operations to include counter-terrorism training.
.@DHS_Wolf and @Christodulides broke ground on the CYCLOPS training center. International partners will receive state of the art instruction at this $5 million facility, donated by the U.S. to the Republic of Cyprus.
Read more: https://t.co/hsnAfe55C6 pic.twitter.com/GCiTVFJHPu
— U.S. Embassy Cyprus (@USEmbassyCyprus) January 4, 2021
The deal to set up the facility in Cyprus was done during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the island nation last September.
Construction of CYCLOPS is expected to begin in February 2021.