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Military Academies Look to Fill Nation's Cybersecurity Gaps

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U.S. Cyber Command seal

U.S. military academies try to place cybersecurity students into internships with the U.S. Cyber Command, as well as the National Security Agency and even Google.

Credit: U.S. Department of Defense

U.S. military academies have been developing potential cyberwarriors for years, but the difficulty is in finding places for them to use their cyberskills. West Point has a senior cybersecurity capstone course taken annually by about 30 information technology (IT), computer science, and electrical engineering majors. Most of the graduates go into tactical signal work and only find positions at the U.S. Cyber Command or the National Security Agency later in their careers.

West Point's Special Interest Group on Security, Audit, and Control club aims to "develop information security professionals from within the Cadet Corps by hosting a variety of competitions, speakers, and challenges," according to the club's Web site. The Naval Academy has created a Center for Cyber Security Studies and instituted mandatory network defense courses to prepare new recruits for Internet warfare.

By establishing the new core curriculum and cybersecurity center, the Naval Academy aims to double the number of computer science and IT majors at the school. Last summer, the Air Force Academy began offering eight days of hands-on cybersecurity training, with more than 80 cadets graduating from the first year of the Basic Cyber course. Officials expect more than 180 to attend next summer, says Col. David Gibson.

From National Defense
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