CSUSB earns grant to help fund new cyber security, intelligence programs

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- The National Science Foundation has awarded Cal State San Bernardino a grant for $485,000 to help the university further develop its cyber security and intelligence programs to help meet the expected demands for more cyber security experts.

“It is estimated that the U.S. will need 4 million cyber security professionals by 2017,” said Tony Coulson, a professor of information and decision sciences. Coulson and Mark Clark, professor of political science, were awarded the funding to create new degree programs in their respective departments.

A bachelor of science degree in cyber security and a master of science degree in national security studies with a concentration in cyber security have been created and should come online next year. The undergraduate degree has been approved while the master’s program is still under the review process through the California State University Chancellor’s Office.

Clark and Coulson are now developing the degree curriculums. Through their contacts in the cyber security community, and the Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence, they hope other universities across the nation will model the CSUSB programs.

What separates these degrees from others, Clark and Coulson said, is that most programs either specialize in the technical field of cyber security or in the analytical field of national security and intelligence. The Cal State San Bernardino programs combine the two for a new way to integrate technical and analytical writing skills.

The two professors said that students graduating from these programs will be trained to communicate technical information to non-technical people in such a way that it can help them make appropriate decisions.

“Students who embark on careers in this field can provide sound analytic advice,” Clark explained.

Cyber security is a field that is still fairly new, yet in high demand, said Coulson. Policy makers, intelligence agencies, leaders in private industry, and state and local governments can all use cyber security experts.

Without these new programs, students currently have to go through two programs to be qualified in cyber security and intelligence.

“We had one student go through both of our programs,” Clark explained. “He got hired by the Department of Homeland Security to work with its special group working on cyber defense of the U.S. infrastructure.”

Clark and Coulson are looking for “students from many disciplines, [students] who want to be on the cutting edge.”

With the demand for cyber security analysts on the rise, students will have the opportunity to take advantage of these degree programs.

“I‘ve been out telling the folks about our new program,” explained Coulson, speaking of the anticipation of employers desperate for well-trained students. “The question is not why, but rather when. They need the talent now.”

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.

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