Military academies catering to all three major service branches in the US are stepping up efforts to train a new breed of cyber warriors for the 21st century. The Army, Navy and Air Force academies are piling more tech courses on their students, including elaborate cyber warfare exercises.
Cyber warfare training is nothing new and US academies have been training cadets in the fine art of cyber warfare for more than a decade, but now the programmes are expanding as a result of new vulnerabilities and capabilities demonstrated by potentially hostile nations, reports The Washington Post.
Director of national intelligence James Clapper recently described cyber warfare as the top threat to national security. He said the threats are more diverse, interconnected and viral than at any point in history.
"Destruction can be invisible, latent, and progressive," he warned.
The US Naval Academy in Annapolis is now requiring freshmen to take a semester to cover the basics of cyber security, but next year it will add a second required cyber course for juniors. The Air Force Academy is rethinking its freshman computing course, half of which now deals with cyber security. It is also looking into adding an additional cyber course.
The Army is also taking cyber warfare seriously. West Point cadets are required to take two cyber courses and attend weekly computer group meetings.
Teams from all three academies take part in regular cyber warfare exercises, the latest of which was held last week. They were not pitted against each other, though. The teams tried to keep computer networks up and running while the NSA tried to take them down, acting like an aggressor team. The Air Force team came out on top.