Historically, cybersecurity has been folded into computer science programs or engineering programs as a component, rather than a concentration. Now that federal, intelligence and defense officials have said that cybersecurity is a critical concern of the US going forward, universities are rushing to retool their approach. Auburn University in Alabama joins group of universities building out their cybersecurity programs, and attracting government dollars.
Earlier this year, CivSource reported on similar initiatives underway in Maryland, and Virginia. Both of those initiatives create partnerships with the significant private cybersecurity economy in those states with local universities. In addition, both states are offering tax incentives for cybersecurity companies and researchers to build out that sector of the local economy.
For Auburn, the state legislature has authorized $1 million in state funds to go to the university in an effort to help it build out its cybersecurity program. Retired Lt. Gen. Ron Burgess, the former director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, will serve as the senior counselor for the school’s military and cybersecurity programs.
“Cyber concerns range from disabling the electrical grid to hacking into financial institutions to stealing intellectual property,” said Lt. Gen. Burgess.
Auburn will use the money to build a cybersecurity center and expand both its security and military programs. The center will also take on contract work for the defense and intelligence communities.