National University receives rare designation from the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Cyber Terrorism Curriculum

San Diego, Calif. – A war is raging that isn’t fought on a battlefield with guns and tanks; it’s fought from computers with code. The threat to national security and the security of trade secrets and commerce, however, are just as great. The future of America’s Cyber Security will be in the hands of “Cyber Warriors,” many of who are in training both onsite and online at National University’s School of Engineering, Technology and Media.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated National University as a “National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education” through 2015. The university’s program is unique in that it teaches both theory and the hands-on skills needed to identify and defend against threats. The program uses a Virtual Education Lab (VEL) where professors create scenarios on multiple machine platforms for students to assess and defend in role-playing exercises.

“This national recognition provides tremendous validation for what we are doing at National University,” said Dr. John Cicero, dean of National University’s School of Engineering, Technology and Media. “Nearly every aspect of our lives is susceptible to Cyber Attack and our students are the future Cyber Warriors who will be defending the integrity and security of our national, business and infrastructure data online.” According to Program Lead, Dr. Ron Gonzales, “MSCSIA students completing this unique and specialized area of professional training are well prepared with both counter defense, and penetration measures associated with computing security”.

In February of 2003, the President initiated a National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace and in 2011, the Internal Strategy for Cyberspace was created to address the critical shortage of professionals with these skills and to highlight the importance higher education plays as a solution for defending America’s cyberspace. The goal of these programs is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research while also producing a growing number of professionals with the expertise necessary to defend critical data.

National University’s master’s program has a competitive final project that pits “red team vs. blue team” dueling in a virtual cyber apocalypse designed to replicate real world threats. The highly intensive program can be completed in as little as 12 months. Its graduates go on to work in nearly every type of business.

National University is one of eight schools in California and the only San Diego-based university to earn the designation. National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California and the 12th-largest in the United States.

Certificates will be presented at the 17th Annual Conference of the Colloquium for Information Systems Security on June 10, 2013. In addition, California’s key elected officials are being made aware of the distinction including the Governor, Members of Congress and appropriate Congressional Committees. Throughout the two-year accreditation process, National University had to demonstrate its curriculum met the criteria.

For more information about the program and National University, visit

About National University

Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California and the 12th-largest in the United States. With 23,000 full-time students and 230,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Five schools and one college – the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering, Technology and Media; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer 133 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials at more than 45 locations throughout California and across the nation. A leader in online education, National University offers more than 70-degree programs via the Internet. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California. To learn more, visit

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