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USNA News Center
USNA News Center


  POSTED ON: Friday, September 21, 2018 2:58 PM by Media Relations

ANNAPOLIS, Md.-The Naval Academy Cyber Science Department recently received accreditation from ABET for the cyber operations program at the academy.

The Academy’s program is one of only four programs in the United States to receive the ABET accreditation in cybersecurity as part of the pilot program originated last fall.  There was no accreditation specific to cybersecurity prior to this program.

"We are very pleased to be recognized by ABET with this special program specific accreditation,” said Naval Academy Academic Dean Andrew Phillips.  “We've worked hard to develop a program that is a model for undergraduate cyber education, and this confirms our status as a leader in that field."

The Naval Academy cyber programs have grown exponentially in recent years. In 2011, a committee was formed to explore different avenues for formalizing cyber studies at USNA. As a result of the committee’s findings, the cyber operations major was established in 2013 and the cyber science department was formally established in 2016. The committee also determined that all midshipmen would be required to take a foundational cyber course in both their freshmen and junior years, making USNA the first undergraduate school with mandatory cybersecurity classes for students.

The cyber operations program at USNA was initially accredited by ABET in 2017 under the general computing criteria, and ABET visited USNA again in October 2017 to evaluate the cyber operations program against this new pilot set of cybersecurity accreditation criteria. USNA was the first university evaluated under these new criteria and ABET noted no discrepancies in the evaluation. ABET formally accredited USNA's cyber operations program with the new cybersecurity criteria in the summer of 2018. Ultimately, three other universities were also accredited under the new cybersecurity criteria: United States Air Force Academy, Towson University and Southeast Missouri State University.

"This is a huge accomplishment for the United States Naval Academy. When you take into account the fact that we are building a new building that will be a dedicated space for our Center for Cyber Security Studies--Hopper Hall, named after computer science pioneer Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, this puts the Naval Academy on the leading edge of cyber education in the country,” said Naval Academy Superintendent, Vice Adm. Ted Carter.

Twenty-seven midshipmen in the Class of 2016 were cyber operations majors at the academy, and that number has grown to 110 midshipmen in the major in the class of 2021.

“Our Navy and nation need the expertise that our cyber warriors will bring to the fleet with them upon graduation,” Carter continued. “This is an exciting time for the Naval Academy and the Navy and we look forward to what the future holds because of the investment that is being made in education for our midshipmen today." 

The Department of Defense has substantially increased its emphasis on the military’s ability to operate effectively in a cyber/information warfare environment.  Among the more notable recent national developments have been the establishment of U.S. Cyber Warfare Command (USCYBERCOM) and the establishment of a new Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command (10th Fleet).  Concurrently, the need for improved cyber security within the naval services requires the Naval Academy to adapt its educational offerings to reflect emerging requirements that academy graduates be prepared to take a leadership role in the Navy’s fight for cyber security. 


Category: Research, Academics