On Monday, Aug. 13, President Donald Trump signed a $717 billion military bill that authorizes the U.S. Department of Defense to establish a cyber institute at the University of North Georgia and other senior military colleges with Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
“We are very pleased with this recent step in the process,” UNG spokeswoman Sylvia Carson told The Times in an email.
UNG offers a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and a graduate-level certificate.
“We also have a number of cadets who have graduated and secured positions within the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and U.S. Army Cyber School, notably UNG alumnus Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, chief of staff of the U.S. Cyber Command,” Carson said.
The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act will also boost military pay by 2.6 percent, giving service members their largest increase in nine years, and authorizes billions of dollars for military construction, including family housing.
It also includes a military parade Trump requested in Washington this November.
The bill, however, does not earmark money for the president’s desired “Space Force.”
The cyber institutes initiative is designed to prepare active-duty personnel, National Guard members and reservists with the education and training to protect U.S. intelligence and public infrastructure from cyber-attacks.
“This defense bill delivers the tools we need to protect Americans at home and abroad ... against evolving threats around the globe,” U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a press release.
America’s senior military colleges include UNG, The Citadel, Norwich University in Vermont, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Virginia Military Institute.
The annual defense bill sets policies and a budget outline for the Pentagon and will be followed later by an appropriations bill.
Carson said it’s important to note that the cyber institute component is a multi-step process, “but UNG is excited by the progress the initiative is making so far.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.