Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD)

What is the CAE-CD?

The purpose of the National CAE program is to promote higher education in Cyber Defense (CD), prepare a growing number of cybersecurity professionals, and to reduce vulnerabilities in the Nation’s networks.

The vision for the CAE-CD program is to:

  1. Provide programs that commit to excellence in the field of Information Assurance and Cyber Defense education at community and technical college and government training institutions.
  2. Provide innovative, comprehensive and multidisciplinary education and training in the IA/CD field.
  3. Strengthen the cybersecurity workforce by providing IA/CD education and training through degree and certification programs at community and technical colleges and government training centers.
  4. Build an effective education pipeline model with K–12 schools to encourage students at an early age to enter IA/CD fields of study.
  5. Provide the Nation with a pipeline of qualified students poised to become the future skilled technical workforce.
  6. Continuously improve the quality of IA/CD programs, curriculum, faculty, students and other institutions.


  • The CAE-CD designation serves as a capacity-builder and powerful motivator for the growth of Information Security programs in two-year institutions while at the same time strengthening the national infrastructure.
  • The CAE-CD designation brings internal and external recognition along with opportunities for collaboration and funding
  • Externally, the awareness of the importance of cybersecurity, and the excellence of the program recognized through the CAE-CD designation is increased significantly among local politicians, Chamber of Commerce, local employers, and the K-12 community. In addition, opportunities for collaboration and funding increase significantly.

The CAE-CD designation gives a benefit to the academic programs:

  • Students become eligible for DoD-NSA scholarships; full-ride scholarships (full cost of tuition, fees, and books + $14,000 stipend for undergraduates or $19,000 for graduate students) for concentrated studies in information assurance;
  • Access to capacity building grants;
  • Certificates sanctioned by NSA-DHS are presented to graduates recognizing them as information security professionals.

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