Training U.S. Navy Officers
The U.S. Navy is turning to the Information Technology and Web Science (ITWS) program at Rensselaer to prepare a select group of U.S. Navy officers with skills needed for military cyberspace operations. Under a three-year agreement, the Navy will enroll a group of five to 10 officers yearly in a new “information dominance” concentration within the Master of Science in Information Technology degree program.
The new concentration will prepare officers for careers designing, building, and managing secure information systems and networks. Such training is essential for the U.S. Navy in an increasingly information-rich environment, according to Professor Peter Fox, director of the ITWS program.
“When you’re deluged with a large amount of heterogeneous information, you’re presented with challenges that you don’t have when you have sparse amounts of information,” said Fox. As an example, Fox points to social networking data during a threatening situation in a crowded area. “Some of the data will have geo location, some will not; some of the information is good quality and some isn’t; some of the tweets come from within the area and some don’t. How do you take diverse information sources that have different levels of quality and uncertainty and combine them together to have a capability to form analysis, let alone make a decision? The way you view it, assemble it, think about it, is different.”
Although the new concentration was created to meet the specific needs of the U.S. Navy, it is also suitable for IT professionals and data scientists who want to enhance their knowledge of how to use pervasive information in situational awareness, operations scenarios, and decision-making.
The new concentration includes advanced study in encryption and network security, formal models, secure coding techniques, policies and ethics for access control in databases and application systems, and other related information assurance and transparency topics.
The first group of Navy officers to enroll in the program arrived on campus in August. “We’re excited to be working with the Navy in training their next generation of officers in this emerging field of information dominance,” said Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science. “Understanding large amounts of information is critical to our future national security and it is an honor to be involved in training Navy officers in how to work in the world of Big Data and IT.”