From: Nextgov

The National Security Agency has launched a program that will designate certain schools as National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations to build out an identifiable pool of cybersecurity expertise it can tap into, the agency announced this week.

It has selected Dakota State University in South Dakota, the Naval Postgraduate School in California, Northeastern University in Massachusetts, and the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma as the first four centers of excellence. NSA will offer selected students opportunities to enhance their education at summer seminars offered by the agency.

The program will require the institutions to adopt an integrated approach to teaching security subjects, with a focus on technology and the techniques associated with specialized operations, such as collection and exploitation, the announcement said. Each center also will be required to include a course about the legal and ethical issues involved.

“The primary goal is to expose students to the scientific and intellectual foundation of cyber operations, giving them a glimpse of how such knowledge could be applied in innovative cyber careers with the government,” the NSA statement said.

The federal government faces a shortage of skilled security professionals to meet its cyber challenges.