U.S. Air Force Academy's computer and cyber sciences department recognized as 'National Center of Academic Excellence'

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U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - The National Security Agency named the U.S. Air Force Academy’s computer and cyber sciences department a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense earlier this year, placing the school in the ranks of six other colleges in Colorado advancing cyber security.

The designation is awarded to regionally accredited institutions offering graduates cyber security credentials and, at the Academy, the title is valid through 2027

Maj. Bobby Birrer, the Academy’s cyber science branch chief, said the NSA completed two reviews of the computer and cyber sciences department, with the first focused on its degrees and processes, before awarding the designation.

“The next [review] focused on the Academy’s involvement with the Centers for Academic Excellence Community, our contributions to the academic community, our overall research and contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics - ‘STEM’ - research,” he said.

Cyber science majors at the Academy study computer, telecommunication systems, cyber operations, and other computer-based subjects.

“Cybersecurity and education is vital for the talent development of the nation’s next- generation cybersecurity warrior and leaders,” Birrer said. “The National Center of Academic Excellence-Cyber Defense program ensures students have the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to address the nations near term and future cybersecurity challenges.”

The other Colorado universities named National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense are the Colorado School of Mines (Golden); Colorado State University-Pueblo, Colorado Technical University (Colorado Springs); University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, University of Denver;  and Regis University (Denver).

Akhirah Padilla, NSA spokesperson, said schools receiving the designation demonstrate the “highest quality curriculum, faculty and community service.”

“Students graduating from these programs not only join government service but also support critical infrastructure and industry, joining the nation’s workforce and defending national security,” Padilla said.