UCCS and Army Reserve to create new breed of computer security experts

April 13, 2015

Kyle Guthrie
[email protected]

UCCS has paired with the U.S. Army Reserve to create programs and initiatives in order to help create more experienced and versatile experts in the field of computer security.

The new initiative comes on the heels of several high profile hacker attacks on the United States and private companies. The most infamous attack was the hack of Sony pictures by a group with ties to North Korea in response to the Sony motion picture The Interview.

Despite the timing of the attacks, senior vice chancellor for University Advancement Martin Wood said the hack and the pairing are not related.

“[We] were approached by the Army Reserve because of the national concern about the growing number of cyberattacks and the need to educate and train people to become cyber experts and go to work in the field and help protect our systems,” Wood said.

Wood explained that the partnership aims to be a symbiotic relationship between the two entities.

“I believe UCCS will build a lot of expertise in cyber education and research,” he said. “Potentially, this will help UCCS become a national leader in this area.”

The goal of the Army Reserves is to recruit and retain soldiers by providing education and training to work in the industry. UCCS aims to create employees and students who can successfully implement countermeasures or defenses against these malicious intrusions before they can happen.

The plan to create this initiative was first implemented on Capitol Hill on Feb. 10 with the creation of the Army Reserve Cyber Private Public Partnership Program, or Cyber P3.

By creating a curriculum for universities that focuses on strengthening student’s knowledge of cybersecurity, the program is projected to also help members of the Army Reserve by offering them scholarships and spots at these universities to enhance their knowledge.

Lt. Gen. Scott Nelson, Cyber Security branch manager of the Army Reserves, explained the need in the industry for individuals with this type of training.

“The problem the army reserve has is that ‘cyber’ is an emerging capability … and one of the most important things about this subject is that we don’t have enough people to do this,” Nelson said.

According to Nelson, the Government Accountability Office said there is a vacancy of about 40,000 cyber security professionals for the government.

“This is only going to grow because of the immersion of cyber across our national industries,” Nelson said. “If we don’t figure out how to do the security aspect of this, then we are in big trouble.”

Scott also explained the program aims to create full spectrum security experts for the emerging field.

“For the center of professional development of the reserve components, you need two things,” Scott said.

“One is the military career, but to be really good at that career, you partner up with a civilian career. Now you have a holistic ‘cyber soldier’ that is truly capable and sought after. That is what we are trying to do.”

Five other universities, including George Mason Washington and the University of Washington, are part of the program.