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NSA/DHS designates UT Dallas a CAE-Cyber Operation Institute

The UT Dallas Computer Science Department’s educational and research programs in information assurance, cyber security and cyber defense have been designated as one of the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). UT Dallas will be joining institutions such as Carnegie Mellon, Northeastern University and the US Military Academy in this capacity.

UT Dallas’ Computer Science department’s research and education efforts in cyber security are part of the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute (CSI) which took root in 2004. The institute is led by Executive Director Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, professor of computer science and the Louis Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.   Other researchers on the cyber security team are Dr. Murat Kantarcioglu who works on data security and privacy, Dr. Latifur Khan who works on data and security analytics, Dr. Zhiqiang Lin who works on secure cloud computing, and Dr. Kevin Hamlen who works on active malware defense. Dr. Kamil Sarac is the Director of Cyber Security Education Programs.

“The CAE in Cyber Operations Program was designed to increase the number of cyber professionals, not only for the NSA, but also for academia, industry and other government agencies ” according to Steve LaFountain, Dean of NSA’s College of Cyber. The mission of the program is to provide students with advanced technical training and skills to address emerging cyber threats. The program aims to prepare students for career opportunities in cyber security fields including positions in security analysis, digital forensics, intelligence, and cyber defense. NSA has mapped out specific standards that colleges and universities must fulfill in order to gain designation as a CAE in Cyber Operations. In particular, they advocate a multidisciplinary approach to a well-rounded education that integrates existing computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering programs within the institutions – exactly what they found here at UT Dallas.

“We are very pleased – this designation demonstrates the strength of our education programs in cyber security” says Dr. Sarac. “At the same time it gives us a tremendous opportunity to develop new collaborations with the Department of Defense in cyber security education and research.”

The CAE designation, which is valid for five years, is given to institutions that have a strong interdisciplinary curriculum.   Each school has an NSA liaison that facilitates interaction between the school and NSA while providing unclassified research problems for students to work on. Universities that have been designated as CAEs under the program have been widely recognized as academic leaders in the cyber security field. The NSA-DHS partnership was initially formed in 2004 in response to the 2003 President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.


About the UT Dallas Computer Science Department

The Department of Computer Science at UT Dallas is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,300 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1150 master’s students, 150 PhD students, and 75 faculty members. The Department is committed to exceptional teaching and research in a culture that is as daring as it is supportive.

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