Cyber Defense

West Point's new cyber institute takes a multipronged approach to security

The U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., will soon begin helping officials tackle difficult cyber problems with a newly established cyber warfare research institute. 

The organization, called the Army Cyber Institute, seeks to propagate successful West Point cyber educational practices and to shed light onto Army cyber issues, while also helping to develop the Army’s cyber career path. The institute will bring together a variety of expert faculty to research critical cyber-related issues and to solve DOD cybersecurity and cyber operations problems.

“I think we’re building a unique team that’s never been done before,” said Col. Greg Conti, Director of the Army Cyber Institute. “People think of technology, and maybe policy, but it’s never been done before in this holistic way.”

The cyber brain trust plans to fill 75 positions across a variety of fields such as psychology, history, law and technology over the next three years, reports Army Times. The institute is taking an interdisciplinary approach, combining doctorate-level expertise in cyber issues with lawyers, psychologists and policy experts.

Additionally, the institute plans to have cyber experts from the operational cyber force come to the institute on a rotational basis as both students and faculty.

The institute will tackle thorny doctrinal and operational questions about cyber warfare, such as:

  • How would a unit maneuver in cyberspace?
  • How would a cyber-Ranger School work?
  • How would troops fight and win a large-scale cyberwar?

The West Point Cyber Chair, Lt. Gen. Rhett Hernandez, former commanding general of the Army Cyberspace Command, will be supporting the organization’s mission.

West Point has already had a Cyber Research Center that originally was founded in 1985 to research artificial intelligence. In 1999, the mission was modified as a result of increasing emphasis on the protection of and reliance on information systems.

Cyber concerns have fueled DOD interest in growth in the sector as the Pentagon looks to increase hiring. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said recently that DOD expects to have 6,000 workers for the cyber realm by 2016, as compared to less than 1,000 from early last year.

About the Author

Joey Cheng is an editorial fellow with Defense Systems.

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