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National Centers of Academic Excellence
in Cyber Defense

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program. The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise for the Nation.

The CAE-CD program comprises the following designations: Four-Year Baccalaureate/Graduate Education (CAE-CDE), Two-Year Education (CAE2Y) and Research (CAE-R). All regionally accredited two-year, four-year and graduate level institutions in the United States are eligible to apply. Prospective schools are designated after meeting stringent CAE criteria and mapping curricula to a core set of cyber defense knowledge units. Schools may also elect to map their curricula to specialized Focus Areas. CAE-CD institutions receive formal recognition from the U.S. Government as well as opportunities for prestige and publicity for their role in securing our Nation's information systems. Designation as a Center does not carry a commitment of funding from NSA or DHS. Funding opportunities may become available periodically from other sources such as the National Science Foundation.

The initial National CAE in Information Assurance Education (CAE-IAE) program was started by NSA in 1998, with DHS joining as a partner in 2004. The CAE in IA Research component was added in 2008 to encourage universities and students to pursue higher-level doctoral research in cybersecurity. In 2010, the CAE2Y component was established to afford two-year institutions, technical schools, and government training centers the opportunity to receive such designation.

Complimentary in nature, the CAE-Cyber Operations program focuses on technologies and techniques related to specialized cyber operations (e.g., collection, exploitation, and response) to enhance the national security posture of our Nation. For more information regarding this program, click here.

For CAE-CD program guidance, requirements and resources click here.

For a current list of NSA/DHS CAE institutions, click here.