Letter from the Director

The Center for Cyber Security Studies (CCSS) continues to be among the Academy’s leading strategic priorities, and we are grateful for the impact your generosity has had on the growth of the CCSS and the preparation of the entire Brigade of Midshipmen. Your support allows us to stay true to the Center’s mission of enhancing education in all areas of cyber warfare, creating opportunities to share cyber expertise and perspective and increasing the interdisciplinary research at the United States Naval Academy.

I am excited for this opportunity to provide an update on some of our key efforts and milestones over the past year. One of these highlights includes the formal accreditation of our Cyber Operations major by ABET, the international group that authorizes technical degree programs across the globe. The Naval Academy was the first school to be formally qualified by ABET under its new evaluation criteria for technical cyber security programs. Since that accreditation, ABET has asked the Naval Academy to assist other schools across the nation in developing their own cyber security curricula.

With this accreditation, midshipman interest in the Cyber Operations major grew exponentially. The Class of 2018 included 23 Cyber Operations majors and the Class of 2019 doubled to 46. We look forward to 68 majors in 2020, 97 in 2021 and 115 in the Class of 2022. Cyber Operations is now the third most popular major in the Brigade, which is quite an accomplishment since our first group of students graduated just three years ago.

Please enjoy reading more about the development of our studies and the areas where our faculty and students continue to excel. On behalf of the Center for Cyber Security Studies, thank you for your dedicated support and interest in our program.

Captain Paul Tortora ’89, USN (Ret.)

Professional Development and International Opportunities

The CCSS provides midshipmen with valuable cyber-related internships and professional development opportunities in industry and in classified settings. These experiences include placements with:

National Security Agency Boeing
U.S. Cyber Command GE
Fleet Cyber Command USAA
Office of Naval Intelligence Facebook
Defense Intelligence Agency BAE Systems
Microsoft Clarity Innovations
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab Innoplex
Lockheed Martin Draper Laboratory

During Summer 2019’s three training blocks, the CCSS will send approximately 40 midshipmen to participate in events and meetings on cyber security while also gaining cultural perspectives in countries such as Estonia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Singapore and Israel. The international summer events provide midshipmen with first-hand knowledge on how many of our partner nations view the importance of cyber awareness and education. This past year, a small group of carefully chosen Cyber Operations majors with a specific focus on international cyber education spent a semester abroad in countries including China, Germany, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

In Summer 2019, Captain Tortora and Cyber Science Faculty Member Lieutenant Commander Brian Kiehl, USN, traveled with 10 midshipmen to Tallinn, Estonia to participate in the 11th International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CyCon). CyCon is organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and partnered with leaders in academia, the private sector and government organizations to analyze the theme of the “Silent Battle.” The conference focused on debates and presentations from renowned experts in the field who addressed current cyber security challenges in an interdisciplinary manner. This trip also included participation at the 2019 Confidence Conference in Krakow, Poland as well as the cyber-focused workshops at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany. These midshipmen were exposed to a truly exceptional learning experience in global cyber culture.

“To speak with the CEO of Microsoft, the leader of 131,000 employees worldwide, and the head of one of the most valuable brands in the world, was an honor and a privilege. I am incredibly grateful for the vast and unique experiences available to me as a midshipman and that the Naval Academy is marked with such a level of prestige to warrant such an impressive visitor”.

–Midshipman Sydney Frankenberg ‘19
in an interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, 10 October 2019

Conferences and Events

The CCSS continues to bring international leaders in cyber security to the Yard to address all students studying in the mandatory cyber courses. One of the highlights includes the participation in the 5th Annual Joint Service Academy Cyber Security Summit, hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Spring 2019. The event drew more than 200 guests from four service academies, the Department of Defense, civilian industry and academia to explore topics including the evolution of cyber operations, the future of cyber security regulation and innovations in the private sector. These are all excellent opportunities for professional development and industry engagement.

Select midshipmen also attended the Women in Cybersecurity Conference (WiCyS) and Grace Hopper Celebration, focused on women in computing. Additionally, the Academy’s Carnegie Fellow, Professor Jeff Kosseff, led a select group of midshipmen to participate in the annual New York University Cyber Policy Competition. The Naval Academy team, including several third class midshipmen, placed second out of 28 teams, including numerous groups of graduate students.

Fall 2018 Cyber Lecture SeriesGenerously supported by Leidos

Spring 2019 Cyber Lecture SeriesGenerously supported by Booz, Allen Hamilton

2017-2019 Cyber Operations Research and CAPSTONE Projects

Hopper Hall Construction


The 30 November 2018 Topping Out Ceremony commemorated the installation of the last piece of steel for use in the construction of Hopper Hall. To date, the project has placed 11,000 cubic yards of concrete and erected 1,625 tons of steel. The upper levels of the concrete floor slabs were poured in December and early January. Electrical and mechanical rough-ins and exterior wall framing followed. Project completion remains targeted for Spring 2020, with classes first being taught in Hopper Hall when the Brigade reforms in Fall 2020.

Unique Capabilities

Updated: March 14, 2020
Curator: Ed Moore