Academia is acquiring an interest in cyber education on many fronts. Not likely to crank out cyber warriors at anywhere close to the rate needed to meet current demand, they are nonetheless anxious to participate in a real trend.
De Montfort University’s Cyber Security Centre in Leicester, England offers undergrad, graduate, and PhD degrees in cyber security and forensics. Tim Watson, its first director, has recently moved on to the University of Warwick to lead the Cyber Security Centre at WMG, University of Warwick. WMG offers degree programs at the Masters level.
In early April, Israel’s Tel Aviv University announced the formation of new center for Cyber Interdisciplinary research in cooperation with the National Cyber Bureau and led by Major Gen. (Res.) Professor Isaac Ben-Israel.
And now the most hallowed of military academies, West Point, has announced plans for a cyber school. The Chairman of the Army Cyber Institute will be retired Lt. Gen. Rhett Hernandez the first chief of Army Cyber Command. The Director of the Army Cyber Institute, Col. Greg Conti, said that they would be bringing on 74 staff over three years. According to military news site C4ISRNet:
“The institution, which aims to take on national policy questions and develop a bench of top-tier experts for the Pentagon, will be defining how cyber warfare is waged, to steer and inform the direction of the Army.”
This is an interesting development, considering that the US Cyber Command was formed well before there was any sort of cyber discipline within the Pentagon. Of course the military has had extensive experience warding off attacks, or succumbing to attacks, as was the case with the Agent.btz worm that traversed SIPRNet to infect a good portion of defense networks. But senior leadership within the military have not been exposed to either cyber history, cyber policy, or cyber war fighting disciplines.
Most military academies and centers of thought leadership are justifiably accused of teaching how to fight the last war. This is evident even today when a large proportion of teaching and academic research goes into counter-insurgency (COIN). Cyber is different than traditional war fighting in that on any given day there are thousands of low-level battles being fought. The military is exposed to those. For once it is possible to foresee the future of war fighting that will surely involve the use of network attacks, embedded back doors, autonomous weaponized software, attacks on satellite communications and ISR platforms, and exploitations of the many vulnerabilities in weapons platforms.