Capitol Tech Chosen by NSA to Lead the Region’s Cybersecurity Programs

Capitol Technology University has been awarded a two-year grant from NSA to lead the National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) Northeast Regional Hub, which includes 14 states, the District of Columbia, and hundreds of institutions offering cybersecurity programs. This distinction bestowed to the university echoes the importance of the university’s longstanding dedication to cybersecurity education, active leadership roles within the region, and ever-expanding global reach.

"Capitol Tech has positioned itself as a cybersecurity leader not only by developing one of the first Information Assurance degrees in the United States, but also through years of working with government agencies such as the NSA and the DoD as well as government defense contractors. Since the inception of its MS Network Security degree in 2001, Capitol Tech has committed itself to providing students at the undergraduate and graduate levels an up-to-date and hands-on education taught by professors with decades of experience working as leaders in the field," said Dr. Bradford Sims, President of Capitol Technology University. "We have the expert faculty, the infrastructure, and the drive to assist fellow cybersecurity-oriented universities in the US northeast region under the shared goal of educating the next generation of cybersecurity leaders."

To aid in the goals outlined in the grant, Capitol Tech, Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC), and Towson University (TU) formed the CAE Northeast Regional Hub Leadership Consortium to provide regional leadership to the over 90 CAE institutions, non-CAE institutions, employers, and regionally focused not-for-profits. Through this grant, Capitol Tech and its two partner institutions will support national efforts within the region and foster cybersecurity education, research, and collaborations among CAE institutions and federal partners across the region.

Dr. William Butler, Capitol Tech’s Chair of Cybersecurity and Director of the university's Cyber Lab, will serve as the primary Principal Investigator (PI). Dr. Butler serves as a CAE mentor with 4 mentees already designated and 3 more in development. He regularly attends and presents at CAE community meetings and is PI for three current DoD Cyber Scholarship Program (CySP) scholars. Over the past five years, Dr. Butler has also mentored 25 scholars enrolled in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (S-STEM) program, 4 of whom are currently enrolled. Dr. Butler also volunteered for the CAE- Cyber Defense Education (CDE) pilot program and works extensively with 2-year schools throughout the region to develop pathways to employment for Associate of Applied Science (AAS) graduates. Professor Jake Mihevc from MVCC and Dr. Sidd Kaza and Dr. Blair Taylor from TU will serve as Co-PIs.

“We are honored to be named the CAE Northeast Regional Hub,” said Dr. Butler. “As a professional who dedicated his life to working in and educating students in the field of cyber, I am extremely excited by the possibilities this position will afford not only to students at Capitol Tech, but students across the East coast. As an individual I have prepared myself for cyber leadership roles for years, as has Capitol Technology University. After decades of building cybersecurity programs, mentoring students, and creating a pathway from community college to 4-year university to in-demand career, Capitol Tech has proven it is ready to do even more for the cyber community.”

Each member of this Consortium has unique strengths they offer to the group. MVCC has a robust competition platform and extensive experience holding events, with over 800 students served across 16 events since 2013. MVCC also has experience implementing competitive CAE regional events. Both MVCC’s pilot regional competition in 2018 and subsequent event in 2019 served nine CAEs. Serving as the host for two CAE regional events has also led to valuable experience and lessons-learned. TU runs competitions every spring, with red-team participation from the DoD and other agencies and blue-teams from TU, community colleges, and local high schools.

The Consortium will establish a collaborative community to both address and achieve the CAE program office goals and objectives including to increase:

  1. collaboration between CAEs within the region;
  2. CAE relationships between stakeholders (K-12, Employers, etc.);
  3. the number of CAE institutions in the region; and
  4. the number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) designated as CAEs in the region.

The Consortium will establish relationships with the PIs of CAE designated institutions and the Person of Contact (POC) identified by each non-CAE designated institution and will build these relationships by establishing Zones: TU will lead Zone II (FEMA Region II) and MVCC will lead Zone I (FEMA Region I) and Capitol Tech will lead Zone III (FEMA Region III). The Consortium lead for each area will meet with the initiative lead to establish goals, objectives, and metrics within the region and their zone. With the input of each lead the Consortium will develop a survey to identify CAE PI’s needs and activities related to the Cybersecurity Education Initiatives.

To meet these goals, the Consortium will disseminate information and resources to the region; facilitate collaboration by identifying promising areas in support initiatives; and provide opportunities for employers and Career Service offices to participate in discussions to facilitate dissemination of best practices and the development of partnerships.

For more information about this designation, the university’s cyber degree programs, or, if you’re an educational institution, to become involved in Capitol Tech’s CAE designated cyber outreach contact Dr. Bill Butler here or request information here.