military cyber U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Caleb uses a computer program to identify network issues during his unit’s training period at Berry Field Air National Guard Base, Nashville, Tenn. on May 5, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Thompson)

DoD and NSA Announce New Cybersecurity Initiative to Close Cyber Talent Gap

The Department of Defense and the National Security Agency and Department of Defense announced the kickoff of a new workforce development program that redefines the academic path to a successful career in cybersecurity.

Through a collaboration with NSA’s National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) Program Management Office and Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of Industrial Policy, Small Business Program’s (OSBP) and Mentor Protégé Program (MPP) students graduate  “job ready”, armed with the knowledge, skills and training necessary for a successful career in cybersecurity.

This workforce development program, called the Cybersecurity Education Diversity Initiative (CEDI), addresses the nation’s critical cybersecurity talent gap by removing obstacles typically associated with establishing a new cybersecurity programs; access to certified teachers, quality educational resources, mentoring, contextual learning experiences and geographically-located internships with business across all industrial sectors.

Through this partnership, Minority Serving institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities wishing to establish a cybersecurity program are connected with NSA’s Centers of Academic Excellence-designated institutions in their region which provide advice on program development.

Students of participating schools can receive paid stipends through DoD-created internships with businesses in the student’s geographic area and hands-on experience through Maryland Innovation & Security Institute’s virtual cyber range. This combination of experiential learning and contextual training allows students to develop the critical skills necessary to address cybersecurity challenges in their geographic area. Students, through use of a “cyber range”-built to develop technical skills, can also provide technical assistance to participating institutions and small businesses in multiple industrial sectors.

“This partnership is a revolutionary approach to developing the cybersecurity workforce of the future,” said Diane M. Janosek, the commandant of NSA’s National Cryptologic School (NCS), which houses the NCAE-C program.  “CEDI is the future model for developing well-qualified and trained cybersecurity professionals across all industrial sectors, in all fifty states. Thank you DoD’s Office of Small Business Programs for creatively addressing the critical need for cybersecurity professionals in the Defense Industrial Base.”

Two academic leaders, Fordham University and Excelsior College are leading the CEDI while nine partner NCAE-C designated academic institutions will offer regionally-oriented programs for MSIs. Additionally, 48 NCAE-C designated institutions have pledged to provide faculty advisors, educational resources, range time and other support resources to CEDI.

MSI’s lacking a cybersecurity education program are encouraged to contact the NCAE-C Program Management Office. NCAE-C designated institutions interested in partnering with CEDI to either develop regionally oriented programs for MSI’s or pledge resources to the CEDI are encouraged contact the NCAE-C Program Management office at CAE_CEDI@nsa.gov.

Click here to view the CEDI Fact Sheet. 

Read more at NSA

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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