Information Security

Naval Academy's New Hopper Hall to House Data Security Studies

The United States Naval Academy, which serves as a liberal arts college to train future officers for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, is constructing the first new building in four decades on its campus in Maryland. The new facility will serve as the home for Cyber Security Studies.

This is far from the academy's initial foray into cybersecurity. In fact, it claims to be the first institution of higher education to require cyber security classes for all of its students, referred to as midshipmen. Freshmen (known as "plebes" on campus for "plebian") take Cyber Fundamentals I as a core requirement in math and science to gain an introduction to the topic.

Earlier this year, the first midshipmen graduated with a new academic major, Cyber Operations. And the institution is designated as a National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

The new center will provide a space for research, project collaboration and hands-on learning for midshipmen and faculty in cyber security studies and related disciplines. The structure will include classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, lecture halls, offices, multi-purpose space, an observatory, loading dock and research and testing tank in support of the engineering and weapons labs. Expected to be done in 2019, "Hopper Hall," as it will be called, is the first on campus named after a woman — Grace Hopper, American computer scientist and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral.

Construction will cost $107 million, much of that covered by gifts to the institution, such as the $1.5 million donated by Lockheed Martin, specifically to help outfit the "Lockheed Martin Cyber Operations Center."

Hopper Hall "represents a critical next step in providing midshipmen and faculty with the resources they need to use cutting-edge technology, explore classified materials, participate in real-time attack and defend exercises and engage in the types of interdisciplinary collaboration that empowers first-rate learning and research," said John Rudder, alumnus and senior director of development at the academy's foundation, in a prepared statement.

"This is a significant step in the process of streamlining our cyber education capabilities here at the Naval Academy with the needs of the Fleet and Department of Defense," added Vice Admiral Ted Carter, superintendent of the academy. "This will be a state-of-the-art facility where our very best and brightest will get cutting edge training and education in the cyber field. I believe the building serves as yet another attraction the Naval Academy has to offer to future Midshipmen."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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