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U.S. Coast Guard Academy Set to Graduate its First Cyber Specialists

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Image courtesy USCG

Published Feb 27, 2022 1:05 PM by U.S. Coast Guard News

[By Petty Officer 2nd Class Hunter Medley]

To enhance the Coast Guard’s capabilities in the cyber realm and to protect the service against malicious cyberattacks, the Coast Guard Academy will soon commission its first Cyber Systems graduates later this academic year.  

Cyberattacks pose one of the most significant threats to the nation’s economic and military power since World War II. These attacks not only can be devastating but have the potential to exploit infrastructure, information systems, networks, and the personal devices we rely on daily. 

Now more than ever, cybersecurity is important as new challenges present themselves in this operational domain. As these threats grow and increase, cyber-attacks have outpaced threats and attacks from the physical domain. 

With the Coast Guard always looking to acquire the best and brightest talent possible, the Coast Guard Academy instituted a Cyber Systems degree in 2018 to meet the operational and support needs of the service in the cyber domain.  

The Coast Guard leverages the collective innovation of our workforce, government partners, academia, industry, and partner nations to ensure the Coast Guard acquires cyber resilient mission platforms and effective cyber operational capabilities. As a service that relies on partnerships, the Coast Guard continually engages in partnerships both domestically and internationally to defend our common goals, reinforce established international norms of behavior in cyberspace, and counter misbehavior of those operating outside of those norms. 

In a January visit to the academy, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) and Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), stressed the importance of cybersecurity as an operational domain and the importance of partnerships. The general spoke with senior leadership and cadets about the vitality of cybersecurity in a technically integrated and dependent world.  

“A decade ago, military personnel rotated out of cyber positions frequently, whereas now, the Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy have encouraged professionalization by offering people in this area a specialized cyber-security program, repeat assignments, specialized training, and incentive pay,” said Gen. Nakasone. “This can only make the Coast Guard better equipped to handle day-to-day cyber missions and a stronger member of the U.S. government's cyber team.” 

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.