Achieving information assurance (IA) requires more than possessing leading-edge technologies and superior operational capabilities. It requires well-educated, highly skilled and technically savvy people in a variety of IA-related disciplines. Finding and properly training an adequate number of such personnel is one of the most important challenges the Department of Defense (DoD) faces as we look to the future.
To continue to provide the growing number of trained personnel needed in the IA field, DoD is working with universities across the country, known as National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) to develop and expand IA-related curricula and offer programs of study for current and future IA professionals.
The Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP), authorized by Chapter 112, Title 10, United States Code, is designed to assist in recruiting and retaining highly qualified personnel in the field of IA to meet the DoD’s information technology requirements for national defense and the security of its information infrastructure.
The IASP consists of three related parts:
- Scholarships for DoD personnel: This portion of the program grants military personnel and civilians the opportunity to obtain a master’s or doctorate degree at the Naval Postgraduate School, the Air Force Institute of Technology, or the National Defense University iCollege in conjunction with an IASP partner college or university. Civilians and military personnel incur an obligation to continue in DoD employment for a period to be determined by the component. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees and books.
- Scholarships for non-DoD students: Scholarships are granted to undergraduate (junior or senior year), graduate and doctorate students currently enrolled at, or accepted for enrollment at, a CAE. In exchange for scholarship funding, students incur a service commitment, which is typically fulfilled by serving as a permanent, full-time DoD civilian employee upon graduation. The obligation period is one year of service for each year, or partial year, of scholarship received, in addition to an internship, if applicable. Individuals who choose military service as their payback commitment serve on active duty for a minimum of four years.
- Grants to schools: Academic institutions may request funding for research, faculty and curriculum development and laboratory improvements to help develop institutional capacity for strong IA educational programs. Grants also will be used to support DoD’s IA and IT critical areas of interest.
IA encompasses scientific, technical and management activities that ensure computer and network security. Some of the disciplines supported under the IASP are (but not limited to):
- Business management or administration;
- Computer crime investigations;
- Computer engineering;
- Computer programming;
- Computer science;
- Computer systems analysis;
- Cyber operations;
- Database administration;
- Data management;
- Digital and multimedia forensics;
- Electrical engineering;
- Electronics engineering;
- Information security (assurance);
- Information systems;
- IT acquisition;
- IT program/project management;
- Network management/operations; and
- Software engineering and other areas with a cybersecurity/IA concentration.
The Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer (DON CIO) will solicit nominations from DoD personnel for the IASP in the fall via naval message and the DON CIO website, with applications due by Jan. 15, 2014.
For DON specific questions, please contact Jennifer Harper at email@example.com.
For more information about the IASP, please visit http://dodcio.defense.gov/Home/Initiatives/InformationAssuranceScholarshipProgram(IASP).aspx and www.doncio.navy.mil.
Jennifer Harper is a member of the DON CIO Information and Workforce Management Directorate, Workforce Branch.