NSA partners with UWF to accelerate cybersecurity degree completion and workforce development

The University of West Florida and the National Security Agency announce a partnership to enhance cybersecurity workforce development and create accelerated pathways toward completion of an undergraduate cybersecurity degree program.

The agreement allows students who complete the Joint Cyber Analysis Course to earn undergraduate credit hours at UWF. JCAC is open to active military. The six-month JCAC course is designed to train individuals with limited computer experience and make them proficient in cyber analysis.

“The National Security Agency’s National Cryptologic School is very pleased to be partnering with the University of West Florida to assist our nation in developing and training federal and military workers in cybersecurity,” said Dr. Leonard Reinsfelder, Commandant, NSA National Cryptologic School. “Cybersecurity is both an economic security threat and a national security threat, which makes cybersecurity a national imperative. The University of West Florida recognizes the unique talent of our nation’s cyber warriors, especially our military in the State of Florida, and we are pleased to partner with them as we prepare for the future.

“Last year, more than 4,000 military students completed this complex cyber course. The course is divided into 10 modules and covers 25 topics ranging from computer fundamentals to programming to forensics methodology and malware analysis. The NSA National Cryptologic School oversees JCAC, which is housed at the Center for Information Warfare Training at Corry Station in Pensacola. The partnership between the JCAC, NSA and UWF is a natural outgrowth of the mutual intent in securing our country.”

For JCAC graduates, the University will apply up to 30 credit hours toward a bachelor’s degree in computing and information sciences with a cybersecurity specialization or 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in general education. Once enrolled at UWF, students may be awarded up to three additional semester credit hours based on credit-by-proficiency evaluation.

“This partnership is an excellent opportunity to prepare our students for successful careers in cybersecurity by providing our educational resources,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “It aligns with our unwavering commitment to train cybersecurity talent and address the critical cybersecurity workforce shortage across the nation.”

In 2016, the NSA and Department of Homeland Security designated the UWF undergraduate cybersecurity program as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. The University received designation in 2017 as a Center of Academic Excellence Regional Resource Center for the Southeast Region. UWF provides leadership to advance cyber defense education among colleges and universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and South Carolina.

UWF is one of only five higher education institutions that NSA has partnered with to offer accelerated degrees. UWF joins Augusta University, Dakota State University, Drexel University and University of Maryland University College in that distinction.

“This agreement will allow JCAC graduates to accelerate completion of our excellent undergraduate cybersecurity program,” said Dr. George Ellenberg, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “The unique program will hone specialized skills and provide a fast track toward career advancement for these students.”

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