Capitol College receives BRAC Higher Education Grant for “Cyber Battle Laboratory”

Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown announced on Dec. 15 Capitol College received one of 12 BRAC Higher Education grants in the amount of $92,992, made available through legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly (the Higher Education Investment Fund) in 2008.

The BRAC grant will support Capitol College’s development of a Cyber Battle Laboratory, expanding the information assurance (IA) laboratory capacity on campus. The Cyber Battle Laboratory will provide intensive hands-on laboratory experiences to increase the IA knowledge of students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate IA degree programs, offering a secure learning environment where various hacker attacks can be simulated, detected, analyzed, and defeated.

“The funds from the BRAC grant are an essential part of moving forward with our information assurance focus,” said Dr. Michael T. Wood, Capitol College president. “Technology is always moving forward, and the Cyber Battle Lab will not only prepare our students for an evolving workforce, but can also raise the level of skill in the current information assurance workforce and set the standard for laboratory facilities in this critical industry.”

The Cyber Battle Laboratory, as a multiple-audience approach, will increase the number of Capitol College graduates who are educated in securing information systems and well-qualified for positions with BRAC agencies. The lab will increase training options for college partners in IA education, including agencies like NSA and Fort Meade employers, and corporate partners such as SAIC and Lockheed Martin. The program could potentially involve all full-time faculty and students in the IA program.

Capitol College’s IA degree programs, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, are designed to meet current and anticipated needs for highly trained IA professionals. Students build on the foundations of computer science and information technology while developing a mastery of IA and security concepts, tactics and strategies. Through collaboration with the college’s Innovation and Leadership Institute, IA students also graduate with leadership skills that employers covet.

Dr. W. Vic Maconachy, vice president for academic affairs, said, “In August of this year governor O’Malley said that ‘Maryland has the potential to become the “silicon valley” of cyber security.’ With these BRAC funds, we can step up our contribution to fulfilling that vision. In addition to providing essential hands-on practice for students, the lab will provide much needed STEM awareness outreach to middle and high school students. Our corporate partners have already expressed great interest in using the lab to enhance their corporate information assurance training as well.”

The 2005 decisions by the Commission on Base Realignment and Closure will create as many as 60,000 new jobs across Maryland, including jobs in communications, intelligence and other high-skilled fields. To fully grasp the potential of this expanding economy, Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly created the BRAC Subcabinet, chaired by Lt. Governor Brown. In 2008, the General Assembly passed an administration bill that funds the BRAC Higher Education Grant program. This is the second year grants have been awarded to colleges and universities across the state.

“I applaud Capitol College and the ten other institutions of higher education on their successful grant application. It is only through our partnerships that Maryland will reap every benefit of BRAC,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “Governor O’Malley and I have set clear priorities that put an emphasis on job creation and we wholly understand that our strong network of public, independent and community colleges play an important role in reaching our ambitious goals.”

Every Maryland institute of higher learning is eligible to apply for the BRAC Higher Education Fund grants, including two- and four-year public or independent colleges or universities, Maryland research institutions, Maryland Regional Higher Education centers, and Maryland private career schools.

Capitol College is the only independent college in Maryland dedicated to engineering, computer science, information technology and business. Founded in 1927, Capitol is an accredited institution offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as professional development training and certificates, and partnerships with government and industry. Capitol is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The college is located in Laurel, Md., a suburban setting midway between Washington, DC and Baltimore. Capitol is committed to providing a quality education that is technology-driven, accessible, affordable and practical.

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