About National CyberWatch Center

The National CyberWatch Center is a consortium of higher education institutions, public and private schools, businesses, and government agencies focused on collaborative efforts to advance cybersecurity education and strengthen the national cybersecurity workforce.

In October 2012, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Prince George’s Community College a $5 million National Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center continuation grant for its Cybersecurity Education Solutions for the Nation project.

The grant allows the National CyberWatch Center to build on its culture of collaboration by coordinating a broad national network of networks, including academic institutions and public and private sector organizations interested in cybersecurity education, research, and workforce development issues; promote and grow models of impact in technical programs, faculty professional development, and student capabilities/career pathways; and advance research in cybersecurity education across the country.


Roles

As a national center in cybersecurity education, the National CyberWatch Center’s roles include:

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Advocator

Advocate for the role of community colleges in cybersecurity education and workforce development

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Builder

Build novel solutions for our nation’s cybersecurity education and workforce development challenges

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Collaborator

Collaborate with educational institutions, businesses, government entities, and professional organizations to strengthen cybersecurity programs nationally

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Coordinator

Coordinate and support regional and national cybersecurity education programs

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Promoter

Promote educational and workforce development models of impact

Our Programs

Community College Cybersecurity Summit (3CS)

3CS meets the perceived need for a national academic conference that focuses exclusively on cybersecurity education at the community college level. 3CS provides a forum for community college faculty and leadership to share new initiatives, model courses and programs, and best practices. The National CyberWatch Center is the organizing entity, along with the Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA) , the Cyber Security Education Consortium (CSEC), CyberWatch West, and the Advanced Cyberforensics Education consortium (ACE).

A principal outcome of the 1st Annual 3CS in 2014 was the creation of a new blueprint for the rapid expansion and enhancement of cybersecurity education programs at community colleges throughout the United States. This blueprint will be distributed to all community colleges, key Federal agencies, Congressional committees, state boards of education, associations, and businesses. The blueprint will document how far community colleges have already come in cybersecurity education, as well as the path forward and the positive role each group of stakeholders can play to insure success.

Center of Academic Excellence Information Assurance/Cybersecurity (CAE)

The National CyberWatch Center provides leadership and facilitates the expansion of the National Security Agency (NSA)/Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense (IA/CD), 2-year (CAE IA/CD-2Y) program through promotion, guidance and mentoring. The National CyberWatch Center has developed a comprehensive support and technical assistance system for the various institutions that need to re-designate, as well as those who are intending to apply for the first time. In addition, the National CyberWatch serves as a national voice in support of the CAE IA/CD-2Y program.

Curriculum

The National CyberWatch Center has established model Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) and Associate of Science (A.S.) cybersecurity curricula that is available to members, including recommendations for courses and textbooks. The National CyberWatch Center also assists the community with special projects contingent to mapping courses to the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, the National Security Agency Knowledge Units (KUs), develops competency-based assessments for both, perform research on cybersecurity trends, an examine and respond to cybersecurity curricular issues of interest to our members.

K-12 Activities

The National CyberWatch Center K-12 program extends the National CyberWatch Center mission of advancing cybersecurity education by leading collaborative efforts and strengthening the national cyber security workforce to the K-12 community. The K-12 program Goals include, 1) leveraging the network and collaboration capacity of the National CyberWatch Center to advance K-12 cybersecurity educational efforts; 2) promoting access to shared high quality resources across government, industry, academia, and non-profits to enhance K-12 cybersecurity education; 3) fostering collaboration between cybersecurity discipline STEM programs by sharing exemplary programs, models, curricula, research and evaluation; 4) providing research-based solutions that will allow all stakeholders – including policymakers – to advocate for a holistic approach to K-12 cybersecurity education.

The program works to achieve its goals through:

  • Programs to increase the cybersecurity workforce pipelines.
  • Community awareness of cybersecurity workforce needs.
  • Community awareness of Cyberethics, Cybersafety and Cybersecurity (C3).
  • Support for security of K-12 IT systems.

Membership Outreach

The National CyberWatch Center offers valuable assets, knowledge, and services to its members and partners. The National CyberWatch Center is strongly anchored on the assets and contributions of its member institutions.

The model the National CyberWatch Center aspires to deploy is one that creates actions around two key questions that each new member is asked upon joining: 1) How can the National CyberWatch Center support your institution’s cybersecurity program? and 2) What does the member have to contribute to the other National CyberWatch Center institutional members?

New members are asked to provide a profile of the member institution and to nominate a point of contact. He/she becomes the practical mechanism through which innovative ideas from around the country are pushed into the campus, as well as the collection point for best practices that can be shared outwardly with other National CyberWatch Center members. A National CyberWatch Center Membership Manual is being re-worked so that members can be supported, as well as providing an efficient way of disseminating information and fostering innovation, all of which can be managed from the National CyberWatch Center staff.

Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC)

This Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition provides hands-on application of information assurance skills to enhance students’ understanding of both theory and practice. The CCDC fulfills the same role as a capstone project in a traditional engineering program (i.e., projects that allow students to synthesize and integrate knowledge acquired through course work and other learning experiences into a project usually conducted in a workplace). The CCDC combines legal, ethical, forensics, and technical components while emphasizing a team approach.

Each team is given physically identical computer configurations at the start of the competition. Throughout the competition, the teams have to ensure the systems supply the specified services while under attack from a volunteer Red Team. In addition, the teams have to satisfy periodic “injects” that simulate business activities IT staff must deal with in the real world.

National Cybersecurity Student Association

The National Cybersecurity Student Association was formed to further the educational and professional development of students through activities, networking, and collaboration. The National Cybersecurity Student Association hopes to attract industry, government, and other interested organizations that can provide mentoring and insight into the cybersecurity workforce and trends. Development of the National Cybersecurity Student Association has been largely based on student feedback and continues to evolve.

National CyberWatch Center Library

The National CyberWatch Center Library combines existing educational and research resources and capabilities, innovative new tools, and state-of-the-art technologies to collect, synthesize, and disseminate knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned in cybersecurity education, research, and related areas, as well as encourage use and adaptation as necessary.

National CyberWatch Center Press

As the field of cybersecurity education has advanced in recent years, there is an emergent need for better knowledge about the field. More specifically, cybersecurity educators, practitioners, policymakers, and other interested parties need sources that will enable the dissemination of knowledge. The National CyberWatch Center Press was created to fill this need and be a vehicle for producing and disseminating collections of timely publications on important topics related to cybersecurity education.

National CyberWatch Center Webinar Series

The National CyberWatch Center Webinar Series brings together nationally recognized subject matter experts with National CyberWatch Center members and the broader community of education and industry to discuss cybersecurity education and workforce development-related topics. New topics are presented each month and attendees are invited to ask questions. The recordings of the webinars are archived on the National CyberWatch Center website for later viewing.

Research

The National CyberWatch Center Research program promotes, sponsors, and conducts research to advance cybersecurity education, strengthen the national cybersecurity workforce, and inform policy and practice. The work of this program supports the development and dissemination of independent, objective, sustainable and scalable models that can be implemented by our members and the wider cybersecurity education community. Research projects and teams prioritize diversity and include community college students and faculty in addition to traditional 4-year research institutions and industry.

National Cyber League (NCL)

The NCL was founded in May 2011 to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for collegiate students to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity skills using next-generation high-fidelity simulation environments.

One of the distinguishing factors of the NCL is the integration of learning objectives in all its activities. One of the main ways this is accomplished is by aligning customized content available in NCL Gymnasiums with simulations and games. This allows players to use the Gym environment to develop knowledge and skills and then demonstrate these newly acquired skills in competitive individual and team play. It also allows the NCL to measure player’s game performance and produce individualized reports (AKA the NCL Scouting Report) on strengths and weakness amongst various learning objectives and industry-recognized competencies.

Membership

The National CyberWatch Center continues to offer valuable assets, knowledge, and services to its members. Consortium members collaborate to share best practices, methodologies, curricula, course modules and materials, and provide faculty training and support to schools who want to develop a cybersecurity program.


Membership benefits include

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Curriculum Development

Assistance with custom content, course cartridges, mapping of courseware to various standards, and model articulation agreements

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Faculty Development

Faculty professional development through sponsored training events

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Student Development

Student development through various informal learning opportunities (e.g., the National Cyber League)

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Student Discounts

Student discounts on certification exams, exam prep courses, and course materials

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Learning Models

Models for interaction and programs with K12 students/teachers/counselors

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Promotions & Marketing

Presence through the National CyberWatch Center website, newsletter, publications, and social media outlets

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Networking Opportunities

Associate membership in related organizations