The first 27 of the US Naval Academy’s cyber operations majors graduate this week.

According to a press release from the US Navy, the academy first announced its intention to offer a cyber operations major in spring 2013, and midshipmen of the Class of 2016 were the first to be able to select it.

Midshipman 1st Class Zac Dannelly said:

“It’s really a humbling experience to be one of those plankowners. It’s so unique because it’s not only the first time USNA has offered it, but really it’s the first program of this kind in the nation. It’s not just for our education and those coming behind us at USNA, but we’re kind of paving the way for how this can be taught uniquely around the nation.”

The major provides a basic foundation in computer architecture, programming, data structures, networks, the Internet, database systems, information assurance, cryptography, and forensics. The technical aspects of the program are balanced with courses and electives in areas such as policy, law, ethics, and social engineering.

The cyber operations majors will have a deeper understanding of the technical and broader cyber applications in the military and national services.

Cyberwarfare in the United States is a part of the American military strategy of proactive cyber defence and the use of cyberwarfare as a platform for attack.

In 2013 Cyberwarfare was, for the first time, considered a larger threat than Al Qaeda or terrorism, by many US intelligence officials. Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, for instance, said in late July 2013, that “most Americans” do not realise that the United States is currently in the middle of a “cyber war.”

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