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U.S. National Security Agency Associate Directorate for Education and Training Wins the 2012 U.S. National Cybersecurity Innovation Award along with the First Four CAE-Cyber Operations Schools: University of Tulsa, Dakota State University, The Naval Postgraduate School, and Northeastern University


Pictured: NSA's Information Assurance Director Debora Plunkett, Deputy Director for Education and Training Dr. Leonard Reinsfelder, and Steven M. Lafountain, NSA's Distinguished Academic Chair for Information Assurance and Cyber

The innovation: Improving the value and effectiveness of college cybersecurity education programs by developing a rigorous new academic standard for colleges seeking to be considered Centers of Academic Excellence capable of producing technically proficient cybersecurity talent, and enabling four colleges to prove they can meet that standard

WASHINGTON DC, October 30, 2012 - The U.S. National Security Agency Associate Directorate for Education and Training and the first four Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)-Cyber Operations Schools have jointly won a 2012 U.S. National Cybersecurity Innovation Award for setting a new higher standard for technical education in critically needed cyber skills.

The NSA created the CAE-Cyber Operations program to expand and improve the quality of cyber education. Recognition as a CAE institution is highly sought after by schools that use the "NSA Center of Academic Excellence" designation when recruiting students. The NSA now offers an innovative new incentive system for colleges competing to participate in the program that sets rigorous academic standards to qualify, but in so doing also raises the value of recognition.

Of the 166 colleges and universities that have been named Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance, 20 sought recognition and four were found to meet the new standards, which include teaching topics such as reverse engineering and secure software development as well as more foundational topics. A number of additional colleges are undertaking efforts to meet the new academic standards in order to secure CAE recognition.

The new NSA program has also been recognized by the 2012 Department of Homeland Security Task Force on CyberSkills and is the model around which DHS is seeking to raise the standards for all schools seeking recognition as Centers of Academic Excellence.

About the National Cybersecurity Innovation Awards

The annual U.S. National Cybersecurity Innovation Awards recognize initiatives by companies and government agencies that contribute to significant cyber risk reduction, have not been deployed effectively before in a similar fashion, can be scaled quickly to serve large numbers of people, and should be supported and adopted quickly by many other organizations. Nominators include senior U.S. government officials involved with cybersecurity as well as leaders from major cybersecurity Information Sharing and Analysis Centers. Corporations and individuals may also nominate innovations. For the 2012 awards, more than 30 nominations were received and nine were selected. The panel of judges for the 2012 awards is described below.

Sameer Bhalotra served as White House Seniors Director for Cybersecurity, leading the national identity management and continuous monitoring initiatives. He also served as the principal cybersecurity staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee, which oversees the cyber budgets of the National Security Agency and the other intelligence agencies.

Tony Sager's stellar career at the National Security Agency spanned 34 years. He headed the Systems & Network Attack Center, oversaw all Red and Blue Team projects, created and headed security product evaluation teams, helped guide the agency's top talent development programs, served as founding director of the Vulnerability Analysis & Operations Group (comprised of 700 of the NSA's top technical cybersecurity specialists), and was the Chief Operating Officer for the Information Assurance Directorate.

Asheem Chandna is the dean of venture capitalists in the cybersecurity field. As a partner at Greylock since 2003, he has helped create and grow multiple security technology businesses to market-leading positions, and successfully merged several into larger companies. He also serves on the panel of judges for the Wall Street Journal Global Technology Innovation Awards.

Alan Paller is Director of Research at the SANS Institute, where he oversees an international search for people and organizations that have identified important ways to reduce the risk posed by cyber threats. He also oversees the Internet Storm Center and the annual initiative to determine the seven most dangerous new attack vectors. He co-chairs the DHS Task Force on Cyberskills and the FCC Working Group on Cybersecurity Best Practices in the telecommunications industry.

Contact:

Alan Paller
Director of Research
SANS Institute
(301) 951-0102 x108
apaller@sans.org