The National Security Agency (NSA) announced it has designated the U.S. Naval Academy’s cyber operations program as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO).

The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) program is managed by the National Cryptologic School at NSA. To earn a CAE designation, institutions of higher learning must have academic programs that have integrated cyber operations information coursework into the academic disciplines of computer science, computer engineering, and/or electrical engineering.

In a statement, NSA said that CAE-designated institutions must complete a validated Program of Study which is a series of courses and experiences that a student can reasonably accomplish in the course of attaining a degree or completing a certificate.

In addition to academic coursework at their university, students have the opportunity to participate in a 12-week summer internship at NSA. Students selected for the internship receive contextual learning experiences through cyber labs and cyber exercises and receive mentoring by working alongside NSA employees and Technical Directors. NCAE-CO program students are also eligible for scholarships and grants through the DoD Cybersecurity Scholarship Program (CySP) and the Federal Cyber Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program.

The NCAE-CO program is part of the President’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education and is intended to focus on developing specialized cybersecurity skills for the Department of Defense, the Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Community workforce.

Students that graduate from one of 22 NCAE-CO programs will understand the technology of the cyber domain as well as the policy, social, legal, and ethical aspects of conducting cyber operations.

Earlier this month, NSA presented the Naval Academy with an award to commemorate the designation. The award ceremony fittingly took place in Hopper Hall, the Naval Academy’s newest building, named for retired computer scientist Real Admiral Grace Hopper. Diane M. Janosek, commandant of NSA’s National Cryptologic School presented the award to the Academy in a closed ceremony.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.