Preparing Cyber Warfare Professionals by Integration of Curriculum, Experiences, and Internships

Office of the Naval Research Project
Application Form Recipients Bio

Contact Information

For questions regarding this project, please contact

Project Description

A key element of the U.S. military in helping maintain superiority is the engineering support to conduct information warfare. The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) provides such capability to the U.S. Navy as well as to the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, and Coast Guards. Cybersecurity along with network and communications are essential domains to attain effective information warfare. One of the main challenges of the military is recruiting talent for such specialties. University of South Carolina (USC) will lead this project to address the IT talent gap. USC will work with South Carolina State University (SCSU) and University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). The team will be advised by the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic, one of the two centers of NAVWAR.

The project has three objectives: 1) Advance formal and informal cyber communities and connect relevant organizations. 2) Develop a multi-state internship program, leveraging and strengthening the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP). 3) Expand the Academic Cloud to support large-scale learning and research nationwide. For objective 1, the project will incorporate hands-on curriculum material. USC, SCSU, and UTSA will provide: training and research experience for Navy, Army, and Air Force ROTC communities, and for veterans and STEM students interested in domains relevant to the DoN and DoD (e.g., cybersecurity, network and communications); professional development events for advanced communities of practice (COP): Engagement and Performance Operations Center (EPOC) / ESnet and Internet2 COPs; and access to self-paced training suitable for the U.S. National Guard and general public. For objective 2, the project will expand the NREIP to other agencies and organizations, including NIWC, Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), and cyber / IT organizations. The project will organize pre-internship seminars during fall and spring semesters, where speakers will meet weekly with students. Seminars will help students to network with internship providers, match them according to their preferred areas of interest, and secure positions to conduct the 400-hour internship during the summer. For objective 3, the project will develop new virtual lab libraries and deploy them in the Academic Cloud. The latter is a platform built for hands-on education and research. Libraries will cover state-of-the-art technologies such as programmable data planes (PDPs) and material aligned with DoD’s 8570 baseline certificates. PDPs provide granular visibility of events occurring in the cyber space at nanosecond resolution and can detect cyber-attacks faster than traditional devices. Baseline certificates validate IT and cyber skills to access certain career opportunities.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity - Application Deadline for Fall 2023: September 1, 2023

The project includes undergraduate research positions in applied cybersecurity.

  • Anticipated duration: 13 weeks
  • Anticipated start date: September 11, 2023
  • Hours per week: 10
  • Rate: $15 per hour

Eligibility Criteria

Students from majors in the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC), National Guard, ROTC, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Eligibility requirements are:

  1. U.S. citizen
  2. Currently enrolled in a major offered by the College of Engineering and Computing
  3. Submit an application form [Application form.pdf]
  4. Submit an unofficial transcript
  5. Good standing
  6. Applicant must have passed one basic programming course and at least one of the following courses (note: if you did not take any of the courses below, but have the equivalent knowledge and skills, you are welcome to apply):
    • ITEC 245: Introduction to Networks
    • ITEC 293: Cyberoperations
    • ITEC 445: Advanced Networking
    • ITEC 493: IT Security for Managers

Documents must be submitted to (subject line: onr-application).

Copyright 2023, University of South Carolina. All rights reserved