The NSA’s School of Cyber

"What will follow is a series of simple tests..." (Men in Black screen shot, © 1997 Columbia Pictures)

The National Security Agency (NSA) is host to one of the most inclusive and formidable cybersecurity training programs in the world. It’s a program designed to not only train the future cybersecurity force, but to improve the skills of the teachers – and even civilian counterparts – as well.

It’s called the College of Cyber.

Steven LaFountain is the dean of the College of Cyber at the NSA. Now, you might be thinking of this cyber collegiate opportunity as a windowless room with uncomfortable chairs and bright white lights (Men in Black-style) but it’s not quite so comically impractical.

“What will follow is a series of simple tests…” (Men in Black screen shot, © 1997 Columbia Pictures)

“[The College of Cyber is] a new school we stood up within the National Cryptologic School,” Dean LaFountain explains. “It’s responsible for education and training of the cyber-related workforce for the NSA, and we also support training of Cyber Command personnel.”

The College of Cyber is actually a two-fold part of the same branch of a program within the NSA called the Centers of Academic Excellence program. According to Mr. LaFountain, the program is focused more on getting universities to include (in their existing cyber training programs) the types of fundamental computer science training and education that they (meaning the NSA) needs.

This means when they go to hire people for the jobs they need, they don’t have to train them on basic computer science. The NSA can just train them specifically on what they do.

“A lot of schools in the recent years have gotten away from our needs because the world has changed so much,” Dean LaFountain says.

“A lot of computer science programs now focus on application-layer technology and mobile technology, and we’re still looking deeper than that. We need that focus on the deeper levels of technology.”

So who are the students, and where do they come from? Are they members of the NSA already, or college hopefuls, or high school kids interested in mastering the Internet? Actually, it’s all three.

The schools looking to be a part of the Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) program are varied. Some of the military school houses have some cybersecurity training, a lot of the private institutions, state colleges and universities do cyber education. If a private university, for example, becomes qualified for CAE status, they’re given — For more information read the original article here.    

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