Dakota State named a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations by the NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) recently named Dakota State University a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO). After a rigorous application and screening process, the NSA selected this month the first four schools to receive the CAE-CO designation for the 2012-2013 academic year: Dakota State University; the Naval Postgraduate School, Calif.; Northeastern University, Mass.; and University of Tulsa, Okla.

The NSA launched the CAE-CO program to ultimately yield a larger pool of professionals with expertise in this area. A part of the President’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, the program assists in the government’s work to better protect cyberspace. The institutions chosen for the program offer a deeply technical, interdisciplinary curriculum centered on fields such as computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering.

The CAE-CO designation is program specific and recognizes the Computer and Network Security major at DSU. Students are able to focus on a Cyber Operations specialization within the Computer and Network Security major. While many schools are using their web technologies as a way to develop smart phone apps, DSU is leveraging their technical expertise to train students on how to keep up on the latest in hacking tactics and defending against them.

“This CAE-CO designation signals that the National Security Agency believes in the mission and nature of the security curriculum at Dakota State University,” said Dr. Josh Pauli, Associate Professor of Information Assurance at DSU. 

“Being part of this program will provide direct opportunities for our DSU students to work for the premiere security agency in the world and on projects in the most exclusive areas of security. The NSA is looking for DSU, as one of only four institutions nationwide, to educate and produce their most talented security professionals specializing in offensive security and hacking. We are honored to be part of the program and believe this is an unbelievable opportunity for our students to apply what they learn at DSU to protect the nation.”

Pauli also expressed the importance the CAE-CO designation has for other areas of the university, especially the Cyber Corps scholarship program and the upcoming Master’s degree in Applied Computer Science, which will also have a Cyber Operations specialization available to students.

“Dakota State University is proud of the CAE-CO designation that has been awarded to us by the NSA.  This designation, along with our CAE-IA curriculum and CAE-IA Research, indicates to those looking for quality curricula, that we are the expert,” stated DSU’s President, Dr. David Borofsky.  

“As one of only four colleges and universities nation-wide with these three designations, we are poised to educate and train a large number of cybersecurity specialists to help our country remain vigilant about the IT security issues we face.”

Dakota State University is one of only four schools in the nation with NSA recognitions in Information Assurance Education (CAE-IAE), Research (CAE-R) and CAE-CO. The CAE-IAE and CAE-R designations are held university-wide and are not program specific, like the CAE-CO designation. In 2004, Dakota State was the first university to be awarded the CAE-IAE national designation in the Upper Midwest, including the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, and Wyoming. The CAE-R designation has been held since earlier this year.

As the national government continues looking for the best trained cybersecurity specialists, Dakota State will keep training them with the latest in evolving technologies.

“DSU will continue to work diligently to meet NSA’s needs for security professionals,” said Pauli, “and this designation is affirmation that we’re on the right track.”


 Story featured in other media outlets:

ABC - http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/05/the-new-college-classes-that-require-top-secret-clearance/

Wired - http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/05/nsa-college-students/

NSA - http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/press_room/2012/new_college_cyber_ops_program.shtml

Reuters- http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/22/us-usa-intelligence-education-idUSBRE84L12T20120522


Last Updated: 11/1/12