Navy Adds Cybersecurity Academy Requirements

The Naval Academy has added two new classes in cybersecurity, highlighting the importance of cyberwarfare as an emerging area of potential expertise for academy students.

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The Navy is adding classes in cybersecurity to its core curriculum, a move that shows the increased importance the military service is putting on the field of study.

The changes come as the Navy also is aiming to construct a facility for its Center for Cyber Security Studies (CCSS), which it created in December 2009 to increase cybersecurity education at the academy. Navy officials have said the service will spend up to $100 million for the new building, part of the Navy's push to promote the study of cybersecurity among its recruits and personnel.

It also supports other cybersecurity work in progress at the military service that, like other branches of the armed forces and federal agencies in general, is making security of its IT infrastructure a top priority.

A little more than a year ago, the Navy followed the lead of other armed forces and created the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command to defend its IT systems against cyber attack. Last summer it also formalized training rules for how its IT workforce should handle issues of cybersecurity.

Naval Academy Academic Dean Andrew Phillips, who unveiled the curriculum additions at a quarterly Board of Visitors meeting, said creation of the cyber command directly influenced the academy's decision to add new cybersecurity requirements, according to an article on the Navy's Web site. The Navy aims to ensure that future graduates have the skills for the Navy's emerging cyber security investments, he said.

Bolstering cybsersecurity educational opportunities also highlights the importance of cyberwarfare as an emerging area of potential expertise for academy students, Phillips added.

Specifically, the academy is requiring that incoming freshmen students next year take a Cyber 1 course on recognizing cyber risks and threats, Naval Academy spokesperson Deborah Goode said via e-mail Tuesday.

A Cyber 2 requirement in the junior year, which will focus on the technical aspects of network defense, will replace an Information Technology course currently taught in the same year, she said.

The changes -- the first significant ones made to the core curriculum in about 10 years -- also will affect the current course of study by consolidating a junior-year Naval Warfare class into the Junior Officer Practicum course, which is taught in senior year, Goode added.

In addition to changes to the core curriculum, the Navy is adding two elective classes for students in the spring semester: "Cryptography and Network Security" and "Computer Forensics," according to the Navy's Web site. The academy is also testing a new course entitled "Fundamentals of Cyber Security."

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About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Montalbano, Contributing Writer

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer, journalist, and therapeutic writing mentor with more than 25 years of professional experience. Her areas of expertise include technology, business, and culture. Elizabeth previously lived and worked as a full-time journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York City; she currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal. In her free time, she enjoys surfing, hiking with her dogs, traveling, playing music, yoga, and cooking.

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