The purpose of the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) program is to:

  • Promote higher education in Cyber Defense (CD), Cyber Operations (CAE-CO), and Research (CAE-R)
  • Prepare a growing number of cybersecurity professionals, and
  • Reduce vulnerabilities in the Nation’s networks


Schools aspiring to gain the CAE designation will strengthen their program while also strengthening their graduates. The CAE designation also serves as a capacity-builder and powerful motivator for the growth of Information Security programs in higher education, while at the same time strengthening the Nation’s infrastructure.

The CAE designation brings internal and external recognition along with opportunities for collaboration and funding. Internally, the designation captures the attention of the school’s senior administration, thus improving opportunities to increase the number of faculty positions, expand classroom/office space, and hire additional support staff. In addition, faculty across campus gain awareness of cybersecurity and its importance. Externally, the awareness of the importance of cybersecurity, and the excellence of the program recognized through the CAE designation is increased significantly among local politicians, Chamber of Commerce, local employers, and the K-12 community. In addition, opportunities for collaboration and funding increase significantly.

Online Resoures

Applicants are encouraged to submit a CAE-CD Applicant Checklist. Based on the outcome of the review, applicants will be referred to one of two assistance paths:

  1. Institutions needing further development of programs and/or curriculum, or those with programs that have not reached maturity, will be referred to a CAE Regional Resource Center for assistance, or
  2. Institutions assessed to be within six months of meeting curriculum and programmatic criteria will be referred to the Application Assistance path for mentorship

PGCC Center for Cybersecurity

Since its inception in 2005, the National CyberWatch Center has been headquartered at Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) in Largo, MD.

In 2006, PGCC was one of the first six community colleges nationally to receive the then Center of Academic Excellence 2-Year (CAE2Y) designation, along with Anne Arundel Community College (MD), Hagerstown Community College (MD), Moraine Valley Community College (IL), Oklahoma City Community College (OK), and Rose State College (OK).

In 2014, PGCC re-designated as a CAE2Y, becoming the first school in the country to do so under the new criteria.

Over the years, PGCC and its National CyberWatch Center have been an integral part of the NCAE-C program by:

  • Leading the national effort to create the CAE2Y program
  • Marketing and outreach efforts to stimulate growth of the CAE program in community colleges
  • Assisting with the implementation and review processes
  • Identifying potential mentors
  • Offering webinars or workshops to assist faculty in this endeavor

See HERE for more on the PGCC Center for Cybersecurity