It appears that Norfolk State University in Virginia picked the right time to open a new multimillion-dollar cybersecurity complex -- as the school was dedicating the facilities Monday afternoon the Navy was announcing a significant increase in cyber operations majors.
The $4 million complex includes research labs and data centers that provide training for 120 students in areas such as digital forensics, cloud computing, wireless security and intelligent intrusion detection systems, according to WAVY news.
The center will also house the school's Center of Excellence for Cybersecurity and administrators are working with primary and secondary schools to attract younger children to the profession at an age when they start engaging with the internet.
“The biggest issue we have with cybersecurity today is the very limited number of cybersecurity professionals to prevent those types of activities that are hacking our university systems or hacking national communication systems,” Dr. Aurelia Williams, the complex's director and chair of computer science programs told the publication.
The project was funded in part by the Department of Defense which is also seeing a major boost in cybersecurity majors at the Naval Academy. The academy also received an update on a $106 million cybersecurity building being built near the Nimitz Library.
The superintendent, Vice Adm. Ted Carter, said classes could begin in Hopper Hall in 2020. The current freshman class has 110 cyber operations majors, or nearly 10 percent of the class, up from 22 cyber majors in the class of 2018, according to the Fifth Domain.
The academy already partners with the National Security Agency on summer internships for students and Paul Tortora, a retired Navy captain and director for the academy's Center for Cyber Security Studies said the Navy will also be working with the NSA to design the cyber curriculum.