U.S. Department of Defense Launches New University Consortium for Cybersecurity

U.S. Department of Defense Launches New University Consortium for Cybersecurity
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall provides insights and recommendations to the assembled UC2 leadership. © DOD

Senior cyber leaders from across the Defense Department, and beyond, recently gathered at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, to mark the establishment of a new effort.

The Department of Defense University Consortium for Cybersecurity, or UC2, exists to facilitate two-way communication between the Secretary of Defense and academia across the United States, according to the UC2 information site.

The event was hosted by the National Defense University’s College of Information and Cyberspace, or CIC, which serves as the coordination center for the consortium.

The senior leaders providing remarks and insights to the discussion included David Frederick, executive director of Cyber Command, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, Joint Staff J6, and Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering and the chief technology officer for DOD.

Frederick discussed the emerging role of UC2 in a recent informational webinar about the Command’s Academic Engagement Strategy.

“Diversity of ideas will create the best innovation,” Shyu stated in her remarks, as she explained the importance of UC2 working with community colleges and historically Black universities and colleges, as well as larger research universities.

“As part of both DOD and academia, CIC is a natural hub for thought leadership on strategic cyber issues, and we’re so happy to serve as the UC2 coordination center,” Cassandra C. Lewis, CIC chancellor said.

In addition to sharing insights and recommendations for UC2, Crall expressed his support for the CIC program, “I hire everyone I can get out of CIC. They’re ready as soon as they walk in the door.” These comments echoed his Senate testimony earlier this year, “I’m a big believer in that college.”

Jim Alves-Foss, director of the Center for Secure and Dependable Systems at the University of Idaho, provided remarks and represented universities across the nation at the kickoff event. His organization, a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity, was selected to serve as the UC2 support center.

Floss coordinates directly with Jim Chen, director of the UC2 Coordination Center, to pursue the goals of the consortium. “UC2 will meet the intent of the law,” Chen stated at the event, referring to Section 1659 of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which set in motion the establishment of UC2.

Other organizations represented at the event included the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy, and the House Armed Services Committee.