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NPS Leads Development of Synergistic General Cyber Course
U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Brian Abel

NPS Leads Development of Synergistic General Cyber Course

By Javier Chagoya

Cyber Academic Group (CAG) Associate Chair Sharon Runde leads a Design Thinking structured course development session with cyber program faculty and chairs in Root Hall’s Design Space, March 21. NPS is leading the creation of a full, four-section general cyber course to begin in summer 2017, in conjunction with the Naval War College and the U.S. Naval Academy.

NPS’ CAG has been developing the pilot course that will deliver a general cyber program to educate naval officers on the three primary domains of cyber – computation and data analytics; science and technology; and strategy, policy and ethics – integrating cyber awareness with their particular specialties. Chairs from each of NPS’ four schools have pulled together a roster of leading experts within their pool of faculty to teach the new program set to begin this summer.

“The overarching goal is to provide cyber awareness, and to educate officers on how to practice their profession in a cyber age while conducting safe cyber operations,” said Runde.

NPS is leading the charge in getting the general cyber pilot course off the ground, and is all part of the Navy’s effort to have its higher education network of schools on the same page with regard to cyber education. Officials leading the effort say NPS is on schedule to deliver the technically-focused curriculum.

While the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) and the Naval War College (NWC) cyber courses have a high level of overlap in the core concept areas, the two institutions are out to achieve the same goals of delivering these core areas of knowledge and educational skill requirements while officers complete their specific degree programs. Recently, NPS CAG Chair Dr. Clark Robertson met with NWC President Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley and NWC Monterey Director Dr. Fred Drake, to examine syllabus content to ensure continuity.

While Runde and Robertson have been working out the nuts and bolts of the course design, other major contributors like NPS Department of Defense Analysis Chair Dr. John Arquilla and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Dr. Dorothy Denning have been injecting new and vital aspects of cyber philosophy into the group’s cyber objectives. Organizers envision a course that, as each session unfolds, Arquilla will set the framework for topics, providing a chronicled background to the subject and a sense of continuity for the course.

“The goal of the general cyber course is to help NPS students cultivate a ‘cyber turn of mind’ attuned to understanding the Information Revolution's effects on military affairs,” said Arquilla, referring to a comment of then Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michelle Howard during her Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture on the NPS campus.

“We clearly need different ways of thinking so that we can navigate safely in this cyber-infused world,” wrote Arquilla and Distinguished Professor Peter Denning in a preamble for the course. “Whether you are a logistician, an engineer, or a computer science major, it is urgent that we all become cyber-minded.”

Emeritus Professor Dorothy Denning along with many other course contributors have created a reading list that will help shepherd course participants as they journey through what will be fresh material in cyber education. The pilot course is being offered as an elective in the Defense Analysis department, and the CAG is actively recruiting from all four schools to gather 20-25 resident students to try out the nascent program.

“We are putting the finishing touches on the syllabus and continuing to provide updates to faculty. We will also be briefing NPS leadership, which are deeply involved in the project,” added Runde. “We look forward to getting interested students signed up for the pilot.”

In addition to Runde, course contributors, pictured above from left, include Cmdr. Thor Martinsen; Lecturer Scott Jasper; Associate Professor of Mathematics David Canright; Professor and Chair of Defense Analysis John Arquilla; Emeritus Distinguished Professor Dorothy Denning; Senior Lecturer Doug Brinkley; Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair Clark Robertson; Distinguished Professor Cynthia Irvine; Professor Neil Rowe; and Professor and Chair of Information Sciences Dan Boger.

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