Cyber Command partners with US universities to prepare graduates for military cyber roles


US Cyber Command announced last week a partnership with 84 colleges and universities from 34 states and the District of Columbia aimed at educating and preparing graduates for cybersecurity roles in the US military.

Partners consist of 69 universities, 13 community colleges, nine minority-serving institutions, four military service academies, and four military war and staff colleges.

“Cyber Command’s goal for the AEN is to strengthen our relationships and communication with these participating institutions,” said CYBERCOM’s Executive Director David Frederick, who detailed the agency’s new program in a webinar last Thursday.

“This [program] will improve and sustain our efforts to meet cyberspace educational requirements and workforce needs,” Frederick added.

The new engagement program aims to work closely with universities, so graduates come off school benches with the base knowledge to join a US military cybersecurity program without too much additional training.

The names of the participating institutions will be released to the public later this month on the website of CYBERCOM’s Academic Engagement Network.

CYBERCOM plans to work with these institutions in the next nine months in order to prepare an adequate curriculum for the next educational year this fall.

Prior to announcing this closer collaboration with universities and community colleges, CYBERCOM has been holding summer internships for undergraduate and graduate students as a way to preview and prepare them for cybersecurity roles in the US military.

The CYBERCOM announcement comes as the US and many other countries are dealing with a severe workforce shortage for cybersecurity jobs.

In December 2021 report, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) said the EU needs to add more cybersecurity courses in higher education institutions if it wants to address this shortage.

Cyber Command’s announcement follows a similar effort from Microsoft, which announced this past October that it intended to partner with 150 community colleges across the US to help train 250,000 cybersecurity professionals by 2025. In addition, the OS maker said it would be providing free curriculum to more than 4,000 accredited higher education institutions in the US and 25,000 scholarships as part of this initiative.

Efforts to add more cybersecurity professionals are currently underway not only at the Department of Defense—to which CYBERCOM answers—but also with the Department of Justice, where the agency onboarded 300 employees, and extended job offers to more than 500 cybersecurity professionals earlier this spring.

CYBERCOM said it would accept new universities and colleges into its AEN partnership starting July 1, 2022, for next year’s cycle.

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