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First Cyber Operations Midshipmen for U.S. Navy

Naval Academy

By MarEx 2016-05-23 19:49:54

The first 27 of the U.S. Naval Academy's cyber operations majors graduate on May 27.

The academy first announced its intention to offer a cyber operations major in spring 2013, and midshipmen of the Class of 2016 were the first to be able to select it. 

The major provides a basic foundation in computer architecture, programming, data structures, networks, the Internet, database systems, information assurance, cryptography and forensics. The technical aspects of the program are balanced with courses and electives in areas such as policy, law, ethics and social engineering.

The cyber operations majors are headed to a variety of Navy warfare communities and the Marine Corps. 

The U.S. Navy is focused on preventing access, protecting vital information and securing freedom of movement within cyberspace for warfighters. Cyberspace is particularly difficult to secure due to a variety of factors including the ability of malicious actors to operate from anywhere in the world, the linkages between cyberspace and physical systems, and the difficulty of reducing vulnerability and consequences in complex cyber networks. From information and identity theft, to cyber-espionage, to the hazards of "insiders", either malicious or unintentional, Navy networks afloat and ashore are at risk.

"Cyber is all about people, technology and processes," said Captain David Bondura, deputy director of the Academy's Center for Cyber Security Studies. "This is the one warfighting domain that genuinely affects everyone across the entire warfighting spectrum."

After completing cyber operations program, future officers can enter advanced study or potentially choose assignments with various military cyber-related forces in support of national security. 

"These cyber operations majors have the technical understanding of what's happening behind the screen, and additionally they understand the broader implications of what a cyber act's effects can be," Paul Tortora, director of the Academy's Center for Cyber Security Studies. Almost doubling the graduating cyber majors, 51 freshmen declared cyber operations as their major earlier this year, said Tortora.