The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated the University of Delaware a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE).

The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in the national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise for the nation.

The five-year designation is based on the University meeting stringent CAE criteria and mapping curricula to a core set of cyber defense knowledge units.

“Your ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the national information infrastructure,” said Karen Leuschner, CAE program manager for the NSA, in notifying UD of the designation. “The critical shortage of professionals with these skills highlights the importance of higher education as a solution to defending America’s cyberspace.”

UD offers a master’s degree in cybersecurity with concentrations in secure software, secure systems, security analytics, and security management. The program is offered on campus as well as online.

In addition, a minor in cybersecurity is available to students in disciplines across the University, and a certificate in the fundamentals of cybersecurity provides advanced training to working professionals. This certificate is currently being offered to a cohort of U.S. Army engineers and scientists at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

“We established these programs in response to the critical need for a workforce skilled in the latest theories and tools required to address the ever-changing array of cybersecurity problems,” says Kenneth Barner, chair of UD’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Stephan Bohacek, associate professor in electrical and computer engineering, coordinated UD’s application for the designation. He emphasizes that UD’s academic offerings exceed the CAE criteria and that students have access to a number of other cybersecurity-related experiences, including participation in hacking competitions, collaboration with industry and government agencies, and involvement in faculty research.

Current research is addressing a broad range of topics, including bio-cybersecurity, secure drone navigation, power safety in data centers, and the use of social robots for cybersecurity education.

The Delaware Cybersecurity Initiative, established in 2014, serves as a hub for these education, training, and research programs. During spring 2016, the initiative also co-hosted a distinguished lecture series that brought national experts to campus to discuss issues ranging from legal trends to the effects of the growing cyber-threat on businesses.

“All of these programs are aimed at providing our students with the background needed to join the twenty-first-century cybersecurity workforce,” says Starnes Walker, director of the Cybersecurity Initiative.

“Now, with this new designation, students completing our master’s program will receive a certificate demonstrating that they’ve received the training deemed important by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.”

UDaily article by Diane Kukich | May 10, 2016