The National Security Agency (NSA) has designated UMass Amherst as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance (IA) Education for academic years 2003 through 2006. UMass Amherst joins the list of 50 universities from across the country to be awarded this distinction. This year, 14 universities were added, including UMass Amherst, and seven Centers were re-designated. The Departments of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering spearheaded this effort by collaborating with other departments on campus in preparing the proposal to NSA for this university-wide recognition. Formal presentations will be made to the universities during the annual conference of the National Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education to be held in Washington, D.C. in June.
NSA granted the designations following a rigorous review of university applications against published criteria based on training standards established by the National Security Telecommunications and Information Systems Security Committee (NSTISSC). The program is intended to reduce vulnerabilities in the national information infrastructure by promoting higher education in information assurance and producing a growing number of professionals with information assurance expertise in various disciplines. Information assurance education plays a critical role in protecting the national information infrastructure. The Centers are key to having security solutions keep pace with evolving technology now and into the future. The Centers also provide great geographic dispersion of information assurance education across the country, building expertise where the national information infrastructures reside.