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The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R).

“This designation is demonstrative of the quality and substance of the education the University of Hawaiʻi has to offer, and more importantly underscores justification for additional grant and research capacity to be brought to bear on information assurance and cybersecurity related curricula,” stated Captain Cliff Bean, Commander of National Security Agency/Central Security Service Hawaiʻi. “Increasing the number of students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields is critical to federal government agencies, the State of Hawaiʻi, local industry and businesses.”

The National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research program was created in 2008 to encourage universities and students to pursue higher-level doctoral research in cybersecurity. With this prestigious designation, UH Mānoa joins an elite group of other research centers of excellence around the country, including Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, New York University, Princeton University, Purdue University and the University of Maryland at College Park.

“We are honored to join this esteemed group of designees,” said UH Mānoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman.  “As Hawaiʻi’s only research university, we acknowledge our special responsibility to maintain and strengthen our high-level doctoral expertise, including that of cybersecurity education and research, not only in the critical Asia-Pacific region, but nationally and globally.”

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa electrical engineering Associate Professor Yingfei Dong, a network security specialist, and information and computer sciences Professor Dusko Pavlovic, a security science specialist, led the UH effort to apply for the National Center of Academic Excellence program.

“We are extremely pleased with UH Mānoa’s designation, as it recognizes the University of Hawaiʻi’s commitment to providing cutting-edge research and education in cybersecurity,” said David Lassner, University of Hawaiʻi president. “We look forward to continuing our partnerships and outreach activities with the federal government and Hawaiʻi community in an area that is critical to all of us and experiencing explosive growth.”

In July 2015, UH is partnering with the National Security Agency, the National Science Foundation and the University of Alaska to host GenCyber Hawaiʻi, a free weeklong summer camp for high school students and teachers focused on cybersecurity hosted at Honolulu Community College’s Pacific Center for Advanced Technology Training (PCATT). The university is also working with the National Security Agency to conduct a cybersecurity focused scholarship and internship information event to be held in September 2015.

The University of Hawaiʻi has also participated in and hosted a number of high-profile cybersecurity exercises, including the Maritime Cybersecurity Exercise conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu in January 2015 and the Poʻoihe Cyber Defense Exercises conducted by the Department of Defense in 2014 and 2013.

UH Mānoa’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence is not the first for the University of Hawaiʻi. In 2013, Honolulu Community College received recognition as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance 2-Year Education (CAE2Y) on the strength of its Computing, Electronics and Networking Technology program and PCATT.

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