Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic has established an educational partnership with Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC), boosting the college’s cybersecurity program and creating a pipeline to fill cybersecurity positions at the center.
The educational partnership enables HGTC to expand offerings from a cybersecurity certificate program to a two-year associates degree program. Courses will focus on cybersecurity operations, ethical hacking, healthcare networking infrastructure, application development and computer forensics. The new associates degree in cybersecurity will be offered next fall.
“We engineer, integrate and secure information systems for the Navy, and we look forward to working with you to meet our common goal of ensuring cybersecurity for our Navy and our nation,” said NIWC Atlantic Executive Officer Cmdr. Jeffrey Williams, who traveled to Georgetown with Joe Henline, NIWC Atlantic’s deputy for mission assurance, and team members Mike Morris and Hank Osborne to formalize the partnership with HGTC President Dr. Marilyn Murphy Fore.
“We are excited to be here today to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work that has strengthened HGTC’s cybersecurity program and help develop the foundational skills needed to protect the cyber domain,” Henline said. “We are proud to be a part of the effort.”
Henline recalls that the entire group from NIWC Atlantic was impressed by the college’s cybersecurity/cyber forensics program. “Their team had a lot of passion for their program, and wanted to improve it to meet our needs. This passion and their focus on understanding our needs is what drew us to view HGTC as a place we could look to for entry-level cybersecurity professionals,” Henline said.
Henline and the NIWC Atlantic team worked with HGTC cybersecurity professor Stan Greenawalt to develop the partnership and associate degree program. “Stan’s passion for educating students in the area of cybersecurity is contagious,” Henline said.
Over the past year, HGTC representatives visited the center to better understand NIWC Atlantic’s needs and tweaked their program to strengthen and align their students’ technical skills to these needs.
At the same time, Osborne provided guidance to Greenawalt and the HGTC team preparing an Office of Naval Research grant submittal. The resulting $750,000 grant will be used to equip a new Security Operations Center Cyber Range and Forensics Lab at HGTC. Courses offered in the lab will provide students with hands-on experience tackling complex cyber-attacks, and will help them learn to evaluate established risk tolerance, work in a team approach and manage risk consistently throughout an organization.
Osborne, who also participated in the judging of students' capstone project presentations, serves on the HGTC Computer Technology Advisory Board Committee, where he draws on his professional expertise to provide feedback to the faculty about course offerings, subject content and current trends.
The partnership will augment NIWC Atlantic’s cybersecurity workforce by creating a pipeline for HGTC students to work at the center. Morris worked with HGTC to secure candidates and negotiated the hiring process to bring on three entry-level cyber security employees in mission assurance competency, and one in communications and networks.
“The great benefit for us is that HGTC is focused on understanding our needs for a cybersecurity workforce, so we are looking forward to seeing entry-level hires coming in with a stronger cybersecurity foundation,” Henline said.
For Greenawalt, the education partnership with NIWC Atlantic and the New SOC Cyber Range and Forensics Lab are just the beginning.
“My mission is to do everything I can to make our country safer in the realm of cybersecurity,” he said.
NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable C4ISR, cyber and information technology capabilities.