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Missouri National Guard Teams with UCM on Training, Creating Cyber Hub

By Jeff Murphy, October 5, 2017

WARRENSBURG, MO – Working with the military to address a need for well-trained technology professionals  and citizen soldiers, the University of Central Missouri and the Missouri National Guard have signed a joint agreement that includes collaboration on cybersecurity curriculum, officer education, and development of future cyber technicians.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed Oct. 2 by UCM President Charles Ambrose and Major General Stephen L. Danner, the adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard. Both leaders, along with other representatives of UCM and the Guard, announced this initiative at The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) in
Lee’s Summit, the new home for UCM’s educational offerings in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

“This is an opportunity to formalize some work that we’ve been talking about as mission critical in the state of Missouri for some time,” Ambrose said.  “There was a lot of effort made in the spring to really put purpose to an MOU that will allow us to demonstrate not only to the region, but to the state, that our work together can cause some great things to happen.”

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed Oct. 2 by University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose, left, and Major General Stephen L. Danner, the adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, calling for joint collaboration on cybersecurity curriculum, officer education, development of future cyber technicians, and a cyber hub at The Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit.

The MOU allows the university to cooperate with the Missouri National Guard to establish a future cyber hub at The MIC, taking advantage of technological resources that currently make possible the delivery of UCM’s undergraduate and graduate degrees in cybersecurity, and technology resources available at the MIC building. This facility opened this fall, and is a joint initiative of UCM and the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. It places high school and college students under one roof, and has a focus that includes accelerating the time to degree completion, providing experiential learning in cooperation with Kansas City corporations, and graduating students with little or no debt.

Consistent with such goals, the MOU also provides opportunities for collaboration on the recruitment of current and future Guard members through the promotion of accelerated degree pathways that will reduce the time to complete a degree and the cost of a college education; the review of civilian cyber education opportunities to include military training and experiences that could be applied to meeting UCM cybersecurity degree requirements; and opportunities to provide an education with no out-of-pocket cost to Guardsmen. It also provides an opportunity for UCM and the Guard to collaborate on recruitment and development of high school students into “cyber warriors” by means of the dual credit programs through either the Innovation Track or Missouri Innovation Campus accelerated degree pathways.

 Danner said the opportunities that are made possible through the MOU benefit Guard members both in their military service and in their work in businesses and other professions outside of their military service. About
90 percent of the men and women who serve in the Missouri National Guard also have full-time civilian jobs.

He said he is pleased to sign the MOU with UCM “because it enhances the Missouri National Guard’s cyber capabilities in many ways. First of all, it will allow our citizen soldiers to work with UCM in order to further their cyber education and degrees as we work together to better our soldiers, not only their understanding and learning, but to assist them both in their civilian careers and in their military careers.”

“I think it is a great thing for the university too,” Danner added, “I believe the Missouri National Guard citizen soldiers – both air and army – bring a lot with them in a student body atmosphere and also enhance the university’s ability to present the kind of programs that are necessary for the future in cyber technology, particularly the kind of cyber that has a military piece to it.”

Danner praised the university’s willingness to help decrease education costs by waiving additional program or admission fees that are not covered by the GI Bill or other federal and state assistance for military members. As a result, Guard members will no longer have to worry about whether or not they can afford a college education.

Following the MOU signing, participants in the event were provided a tour of the MIC facilities by two students who are currently enrolled in The MIC program. This was followed by a cybersecurity presentation by Anshuman Singh, assistant professor of computer science and coordinator of the academic cybersecurity program at UCM.

 Singh said the Missouri National Guard has an important role in protecting the state’s infrastructure and assets, and earning a degree from UCM will make the men and women who serve in the Guard better prepared to help protect Missouri’s cyber infrastructure.  He stressed that having a facility such as The MIC is important in meeting this goal, not only for the benefit of the Missouri National Guard but in serving similar needs among businesses in the Kansas City area.

“This is a game changer. It helps us get to the next level,” he said in talking about The MIC. “We are very equipped in Warrensburg, but having a facility of this kind in Lee’s Summit helps us connect to businesses as well as provide training to people who are working so that they can better apply their skills in their job. So, this helps us to reach a much wider audience.”


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