THE ALUMNI MAGAZINE OF NORWICH UNIVERSITY
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NORWICH RECORD | Winter 2022

Norwich is the lead grant investigator in a consortium of six senior military colleges designed to grow the nation’s pipeline of cybersecurity talent filling crucial roles in the Department of Defense. Known as the DoD Senior Military College Cyber Institute, the pilot program formally launched one year ago with a $10 million grant from the Department of Defense and received a second $18.5 million, two-year grant in October. “Our Cyber Leader Development Programs provide military and civilian students with DoD-focused cyber experiential and immersive opportunities to include internships, research projects, competitions, and certifications to prepare for cyber work roles,” says NU Associate Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Col. Sharon Hamilton, Ph.D., U.S. Army (Ret.). The foundation for the program was sparked four years ago. Hamilton (then based at the University of North Georgia), Phil Sussman ’81, president of the Norwich University Applied Research Institutes, and colleagues at the other senior military colleges saw that they were uniquely positioned to work collaboratively to help fill the DoD’s cybersecurity talent gap. “We saw there was a need … and proposed a team solution,” Hamilton says.

MISSION
Enhance cyber skills and expand the national cybersecurity talent pipeline to meet the high demand for DoD cyber professionals. Support undergraduate cybersecurity majors with real-world experiential learning and professional development opportunities. Outreach extends to K–12 schools, teachers, and students — especially middle schools in underserved and rural communities.

FUNDING

$18.5 MILLION TWO-YEAR NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY GRANT
Award shared among the nation’s six senior military colleges: Norwich, Virginia Tech, Virginia Military Institute, The Citadel, University of North Georgia, and Texas A&M. Funds support fiscal year 2022 and 2023 programming.

$4.25 MILLION NU’S SHARE Norwich serves as the grant’s principal investigator. Campus programs are offered through the NU Cyber Institute based in the School of Cybersecurity, Data Science and Computing (SCDC). “We’re at a very critical juncture in cyber at Norwich because the [national] need is great at the same point in history when our programs are expanding to meet that need,” Cyber Institute and SCDC Director Professor Dr. Michael Battig says.

 

STUDENTS FIRST
“We very intentionally put very few dollars into overhead. We want to push everything down to the students,” Hamilton says. Students are selected for paid internships and provided funds to cover related travel, food, and lodging costs as well as costs for academic conferences and competitions.

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
Classroom learning goes only so far. The Cyber Leader Development Program specifically aims to enhance student participation in cyber-related internships, competitions, conferences, student clubs and study groups, research projects, and capstone projects.

FACULTY SUPPORT
NU’s School of Cybersecurity, Data Science and Computing (SCDC) is home to the fastest-growing majors on campus. Grant dollars support cybersecurity faculty research, professional development, and certifications. They also support new SCDC faculty and Cyber Institute staff hires. Coming soon: faculty exchanges and joint summer programming for students among the six senior military colleges.

FUTURE PLANS
The Cyber Leadership Development Program at NU and its five SMC partners serve as models that can be shared more broadly. DoD designation as a program of record would allow support to other colleges and universities designated by the National Security Agency as academic centers of cybersecurity excellence.

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