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The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium has been awarded $3 million to develop new cybersecurity training resources to battle U.S. cyberattacks and intrusions

The University of Arkansas System’s Criminal Justice Institute, the University of Texas at San Antonio Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security, Norwich University Applied Research Institutes, the University of Memphis’ Center for Information Assurance, and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service have been awarded a $3 million grant by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help better prepare the country to defend itself against continuous cyberattacks and intrusions. The Criminal Justice Institute is the lead agency on this grant.

These five universities, all core members of the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC), will work in partnership to develop a variety of new cybersecurity training resources over the next three years. These resources will include web-based training opportunities as well as hands-on and scenario-based training programs.

Since 2004, NCPC members have developed and delivered cybersecurity and cyberterrorism training and exercise support nationwide to a targeted audience of community leaders and critical infrastructure technical personnel. These programs have reached individuals in all 50 states, garnering the Consortium widespread recognition among state and local government leaders, information technology departments, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, colleges and universities, training academies, and other related organizations throughout the United States. NCPC has also received 2014 and 2015 funding from FEMA.

“We are grateful to the Department of Homeland Security for selecting our application for funding in this highly competitive grant program,” says Dr. Cheryl May, Director of the Criminal Justice Institute. “With continued funding, the Consortium will be able to expand the availability of resources and training opportunities for U.S. technical personnel to better prepare them for protecting the Country’s critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.”

As part of this effort, the Criminal Justice Institute’s Cyberterrorism Defense Initiative (CDI) will develop a four-day course entitled Cybersecurity Proactive Defense (CPD) that will combine instructor-led classroom lecture with hands-on computer lab applications simulating advanced attack vectors, sequential and escalating attack steps, and hands-on attack execution. Since 2004, the Criminal Justice Institute has developed four courses focusing on cyber-security/cyber-terrorism and has delivered 272 courses to 5,032 critical infrastructure technical personnel in 33 states and 1 U.S. territory. Currently, with 2014 and 2015 funding, CJI is delivering two additional cybersecurity courses.

Additional online components of the program will be developed and delivered by three of the partnering universities. The University of Texas at San Antonio Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (UTSA) is creating an online course entitled Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Cross Sector Information Sharing for States and Communities that will explore current information sharing programs and address the need for establishing programs in states and communities. Norwich University Applied Research Institutes will develop Introduction to Vulnerability Assessment, a 64-hour web-based course that will focus on vulnerability assessment, threat assessment, and risk analysis projects as it relates to cyber security. Additionally, the University of Memphis’ Center for Information Assurance will develop a six-hour web-based, simulation-supported course entitled Mobile Device Security & Privacy that will teach students how to conduct mobile device risk assessments through various security best practices including observation, data analysis, monitoring activities and recovery steps.

Finally, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) will develop a three-day scenario-based course, led by an instructor, focused on Simulated Cybersecurity Incident Response Training for Cybersecurity Teams. The scenarios are designed to develop operational level skill sets that will challenge the students to protect and defend their IT networks and involve them in simulated discussions with decision makers that address the practical or actionable viability of identified actions.


The Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) is a nationally unique educational entity that provides programs and services designed to enhance the proficiency and professionalism within the Arkansas law enforcement community. As a division of the University of Arkansas System, the Institute delivers education and advanced training across Arkansas in progressive areas of criminal justice, including law enforcement leadership and management, forensic sciences, computer technologies, illicit drug investigations, and school, traffic, and officer safety. By providing these services, CJI assists law enforcement agencies in positively impacting not only public safety, but also the economic viability of communities across the State. In 1997, the Institute established the National Center for Rural Law enforcement (NCRLE) to extend many of the Institute’s programs and services throughout rural America.