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Proceedings: Attacking the Roots of Cyber(in)security: The Role of Education

Thursday, November 8, 2018, at University of Maryland University College (UMUC), College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Adelphi, Md.

The symposium was co-sponsored by the National Security Agency’s Cyber Center for Education and Innovation–Home of the Cryptologic Museum (CCEI) and UMUC, with supporting organizations that include the Maryland Department of Education, National Cryptologic Museum Foundation (NCMF), and National Institute for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). The symposium was an associated event of CyberMaryland 2018.

Full Symposium Program

About the Symposium

A new report, just released in draft by the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee recommends that the United States undertake a “Cybersecurity Moonshot” to harness the power of government, industry, and academia to “fundamentally transform the security of our digital landscape” and attack the roots of cyber insecurity. The draft report calls out STEM and cybersecurity education as one of the pillars of the strategic framework of the Moonshot initiative noting the shortage of skilled cyber professionals in the workforce.

The cybersecurity skills gap, its persistence, and its implications for the nation are well documented. The urgent question is: Why does this state of affairs exist? Normally, the market solves labor shortages through rising wages and educational institutions respond by offering programs that increase the supply of in-demand workers. In response to the demand, students are drawn to and prepared for these careers. Over time, the market reaches a dynamic equilibrium where supply meets demand. But this does not seem to be happening in the cyber workplace. If anything, the cybersecurity skills gap is growing both in terms of an insufficient number of new professionals and their level of skills.

This one-day symposium addressed the ‘why’ question and sought to identify solutions through keynote addresses and panel discussions. It included the perspectives of senior leaders, policy makers, employers, faculty and students who focused on how powerful new technologies might be used to boost the talent pipeline, slow the demand for cybersecurity professionals, and help the nation achieve a sustainable equilibrium.


9:00 am | Opening Program

Master of Ceremonies
Mr. Mark Loepker
Senior Advisor, Education Lead, CCEI-NCM

President Javier Miyares
University of Maryland University College

Symposium Honorary Chairman
MG Roderick Isler (U.S. Army, Ret.)
Vice President, CCEI-NCM Campaign

9:30 am | Panel 1: Building the STEM Pipeline: The Student Perspective 

Dr. Karen Salmon
Superintendent, Maryland State Department of Education

Ms. Ipshita Bhatnagar
Senior, Damascus High School, Montgomery County

Mr. Antwan King
UMUC Alumnus (MS, Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation)

Mr. Daniel Liscinsky
Bachelor’s Degree Student in Computer Science (Cybersecurity Minor), University of Maryland, College Park

Mr. Khari Thomas
Associates Degree Student, Howard Community College

Ms. Selena Xiao
Senior, Wootton High School, Montgomery County

10:45 am | Morning Keynote

GEN Dennis Via (U.S. Army, Ret.)
Introduced by MG Roderick Isler (U.S. Army, Ret.)

Dennis Via is an Executive Vice President and Defense Fellow with Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Virginia, where he is a member of the Global Defense Leadership Team. He recently retired from the U.S. Army as a four-star general. In his last assignment, he led the largest global logistics command in the U.S. Army and Department of Defense (DoD), comprising 120,000 military and civilian employees in 38 countries and 41 states, with an annual budget of $50 billion. As the commander of Army Materiel Command (AMC), he was directly responsible for all logistics, information technology, foreign military sales, and industrial base operations for the U.S. Army. Prior to his promotion and assignment as the AMC commander, he was assigned as the command’s deputy commander, where he deployed to Southwest Asia in October 2011 to manage the strategic integration of the retrograde of equipment and materiel out of Iraq after the conclusion of combat operations. Prior to this appointment, he was assigned as a director on The Joint Staff, Pentagon, where he was a direct report to the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff for all policies, plans, and programs for DoD communications, information systems, and cybersecurity. General Via served 12 years as a general officer and is the first Signal Corps Officer in U.S. Army’s 242-year history to achieve the rank of four-star general. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Association of the United States Army, and the Armed Forces -Communications–Electronics Association.

12:00 pm | Lunch Presentations

CCEI and the National Cryptologic Museum:

MG Roderick Isler (U.S. Army, Ret.)
Vice President, CCEI-NCM Campaign

Mr. Larry Castro
Chief Operating Officer, CCEI-NCM

Education Week Research Center/Consortium for School Networking Survey:

Mr. Benjamin Herold
Staff Writer, Education Week

1:30 pm | Panel 2: The Labor Market is Talking. Is Education Listening?

Dr. William E. “Brit” Kirwan
University System of Maryland Chancellor Emeritus

Ms. Candy Alexander
President, International Board, Information Systems Security Association (ISSA)

Dr. Diane Burley
Executive Director and Chair of the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (I3P) and professor of Human and Organizational Learning at The George Washington University

Ms. Mary Ann Davidson
Chief Security Officer, Oracle

Ms. Michele Mullen
Executive Director, Canadian Committee on National Security Systems (CCNSS) and External Compliance

3:00 pm | Panel 3: New Technology, STEM Education, and the Cybersecurity Moonshot

Dr. MJ Bishop
Inaugural Director, Center for Academic Innovation, University System of Maryland

Dr. Matt Gaston
Director, Emerging Technology Center, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie-Mellon

Mr. Benjamin Herold
Staff Writer, Education Week

Dr. Dee Kanejiya
Founder and CEO, Cognii

Ms. Rachel Zimmerman
Deputy Commissioner, CyberPatriot

4:20 pm | Closing Keynote

Ms. Cindy Widick
Introduced by MG Roderick Isler (U.S. Army, Ret.)

Ms. Cynthia L. Widick is chief of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service’s (NSA/CSS) Cybersecurity Operations (CSO) Group in the Operations Directorate where she leads integrated cybersecurity operations to enable high impact operational efforts in the cyber domain and deny adversaries the ability to influence, exploit, or threaten cyber and information infrastructure domains within the bounds of our authorities. Ms. Widick enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1975 as a Russian voice intercept operator with the Army Security Agency and was stationed in Germany until 1978 when she separated from active duty. After completing her college degrees, she was commissioned in 1983 as an ensign in the U.S. Navy via Officer Candidate School, Newport, Rhode Island as a cryptologic officer. Her assignments included staff, headquarters, sea, and shore tours. Her last six years on active duty, she was assigned to NSA where she worked with the Information Assurance team and Computer Network Operations. In January 2010, Ms. Widick joined NSA/CSS’s Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service as NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC)’s chief of operations where she established its Operations Center, a dynamic, 24/7/365 national-level cyber-focused operation, working in partnership with the U.S. Cyber Command, FBI, DHS, and other U.S. government agencies. In 2013, Ms. Widick became the SID chief of staff until 2015 when she was appointed the director of NTOC until implementation of NSA21 in August 2016, when she became the chief for Cybersecurity Operations. Ms. Widick attended Southern Illinois University, receiving a BA in Russian Language (1981) and a Master of Business Administration (1982).

Symposium Sponsors

The Cyber Center for Education & Innovation (CCEI), Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM) is a private-public partnership of the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation (NCMF) and the National Security Agency, formed under federal legislative authority. The NCMF is engaged in a campaign to finance, build, and equip the CCEI-NCM, scheduled to open in 2021 subject to funding availability. In addition to holding the exhibits, papers, and artifacts of the cryptologic community, the CCEI-NCM will offer a state-of-the art conference and meeting venue and will conduct a range of educational programming related to cybersecurity and cryptology. University of Maryland University College (UMUC), a leader in cybersecurity education, has been selected by the NCMF to lead the facilitation, coordination, and development of CCEI-NCM education and training initiatives.

About NCMF

The not-for-profit National Cryptologic Museum Foundation (NCMF) and the National Security Agency (NSA) established a private-public partnership under federal legislative authority to create the Cyber Center for Education & Innovation (CCEI), Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM) facility at Fort Meade, Maryland. The CCEI-NCM will launch a cross-sector enterprise encouraging governments, industry, and academia to share insights, knowledge, and resources to strengthen cybersecurity protection across U.S. critical infrastructure.

About UMUC

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) was founded more than 70 years ago specifically to serve the higher education needs of working adults and servicemembers. Today, UMUC continues that tradition online and offers more than 90 degrees, certificates, and specializations backed by the reputation of a state university and the University System of Maryland. For more information, visit

PHOTOS FROM THE SYMPOSIUM (Photo Credit: University of Maryland University College)

Related News Coverage:

Education Key to Fixing Cyber Insecurity, Op-ed by Karen Salmon, Superintendent, Maryland Department of Education, Baltimore Sun, Oct. 24, 2018

Symposium Committee

Symposium Chair

Maj. Gen. Roderick Isler, (U.S. Army, Ret.), Vice President, CCEI-NCM Campaign

Program/Organizing Committee Chair

Lt. Gen. John Campbell (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), Senior Advisor, CCEI-NCM

Symposium Program Committee

Dr. Lynn Gilli, Assistant Superintendent for the Division of Career and College Readiness, Maryland Department of Education

CAPT. William Gravell (U.S. Navy, Ret.), President, Diogenes Group, LLC

RADM Betsy Hight (U.S. Navy, Ret.)

Mr. Robert Lentz, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cyber Security Strategies

Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr. (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), Senior Counselor to the Cohen Group

Mr. Marcus Sachs, Chief Security Officer, Pattern Computer

Mr. Richard C. Schaeffer Jr., President, National Cryptologic Museum Foundation

Dr. Gregory Von Lehmen, Special Assistant to the President, Cybersecurity, University of Maryland University College

Symposium Organizing Committee

Ms. Kat Bugg, Assistant Vice President, Communication & Events, University of Maryland University College

Mr. Larry Castro, Chief Operating Officer, CCEI-NCM

Mr. Sheran Fernando, President, Fernando Partners

Mr. Michael Freedman, Senior Vice President, Office of Communications, University of Maryland University College

Mr. Alex Kasten, Media Relations Specialist, University of Maryland University College

Mr. Mark Loepker, Senior Advisor, Education Lead, CCEI-NCM

Mr. Bob Ludwig, Assistant Vice President, Media Relations, University of Maryland University College

Mrs. Carol Stromberg, Executive Administrator, CCEI-NCM