The University of North Georgia (UNG) and the U.S.’s five other senior military colleges (SMCs) have each received approximately $1.475 million in federal funds to create cybersecurity institutes as pilot programs in fall 2020, according to a UNG press release.
The funds come from a $10 million Department of Defense (DOD) appropriation to the National Security Agency (NSA). Dr. Sharon Hamilton, associate vice president of strategic partnerships at Norwich University and principal investigator for the grant, said the DOD allocated the funds due to critical shortages of qualified cyber professionals among its ranks.
The DOD funds will allow for scholarships for women, minorities, first-generation college students, those from rural communities and others to get started in cyber-related careers, said Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science and director of the UNG Center for Cyber Operations Education.
“NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone has said, ‘The threat is diverse; our response must also be diverse,’” Payne said. “We know we need more diversity in the cyber workforce. This program gives these students a chance to show they have what it takes in cyber and join the fight.”
UNG’s cybersecurity institute will have more faculty and support, as well as more time with DOD personnel.
“The SMCs will prove that we can be a talent pipeline,” Hamilton said. “And then we can reach out to other universities and help them become DOD cyber institutes.”