Muscatatuck Cyber Academy accepting first students

If you’re interested in a career that could help a business or perhaps even your country fight cyber threats, Ivy Tech Community College Columbus may have the program for you.

The college along with the Indiana adjutant general’s office is opening a cyber academy this summer at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville.

Muscatatuck Cyber Academy is designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills and abilities to compete in a technologically advanced world, where cyber threats endanger the United States’ security and values, according to a news release from the Indiana National Guard.

Classes are slated to begin in August for the first 40 students who register. Registration for the 11-month, 60-credit program began Monday and is open to service members of all military branches and civilians.

“The nation requires a workforce that is relevant, agile and adaptable if it is to remain technically competitive in the global economy and successfully address the growing cyber threats from around the world,” said Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, Indiana’s adjutant general.

Steven Combs, chancellor of Ivy Tech Columbus, said it also is a perfect fit for civilians, especially recent high school graduates who want to earn a degree and start a career in a computer-related industry.

He said Muscatatuck is the ideal place for the academy in part because it is a national treasure in that it is not replicated anywhere else in the country or perhaps the world.

Combs said he recently toured the 1,000-acre site in Butlerville in eastern Jennings County to learn more about its training capabilities and network and systems.

“I’m even more impressed with what is available there,” he said.

The academy, which will be conducted in cooperation with the National Center for Complex Operations, will be accelerated similar to Ivy Tech’s general studies and business programs with students attending classes five days a week, Combs said. Ivy Tech is certified by the National Security Agency as a Center for Cyber Security and offers certificates and associate degrees in cybersecurity.

There will be some optional free housing provided by a third-party vendor at the center, and housing also is available in other nearby communities, including North Vernon and Seymour.

The training center infrastructure and operating environment immerses students in a world of the future, surrounding them with cutting-edge programs and projects that will allow them to acquire relevant certifications, degrees and skills in a realistic setting.

In a time when anyone across the globe can affect the lives of American citizens or the very infrastructure of the country, it is important to have the knowledge and capabilities to defend against such cyber adversaries. The best avenue of approach is the cooperation between the government, the military, academic counterparts and cybersecurity personnel in order to protect the American way of life.

Students will participate in exclusive training and testing events in Muscatatuck’s multi-domain environment (land, maritime, air, human and cyberspace), which will provide them opportunities to conduct integrated and synchronized offensive and defensive cyberspace operations.

Randy Proffitt, vice chancellor for enrollment services for Ivy Tech Columbus, said the program has been in the works for a couple of years.

“The job demand for cybersecurity personnel in southern Indiana is growing,” he said. “Just about every company is vulnerable.”

Combs said the program has a cost of $8,000, but the military may help its personnel, and the college offers financial assistance. He said the eventual goal is to grow the program to about 200 students.

Soldiers can better position themselves to attain one of the coveted slots in the U.S. Army’s cyber operations, military operation specialty 17-series program, by leveraging their cyber academy degree and certifications, according to the National Guard.

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