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Master of Science in Cyber Systems and Operations

Overview

The Cyber Systems and Operations (CSO) degree addresses a broad range of cyberspace operations: computer network attack, defense, and exploitation; cyber analysis, operations, planning and engineering; and cyber intelligence operations and analysis. Complementing focused and technically deep programs in the traditional departments, the Master of Science in Cyber Systems and Operations degree addresses the broad range of cyber topics needed by leaders, managers, and operators serving military missions.

Designed for a cadre of students with diverse backgrounds, this degree program is intended to provide a deep understanding of the national and military application of integrated lines of operation including operation of the global information grid (GIG), defensive and offensive cyber operations, and the required technical and nontechnical intelligence operations underpinning these. Students will learn how to seize and sustain an information advantage through all stages of operations, from early warning through detection, planning, targeting, cyber fires, assessing effects and resetting for follow-on plans and operations.

Site visits, laboratory exercises, seminars, guest speakers, and practical workshops complement traditional instruction. A semiannual cyber exercise is integrated into the curriculum. Thesis research or a capstone project will allow students to address topics of interest to stakeholders under the supervision of faculty experts. Tight integration with the front line war fighter and with relevant U.S. Government elements will ensure that thesis research and capstone projects are on target and rapidly integrated.

Requirements for Entry

This curriculum is open to officers of the U.S. Armed Forces and civilian employees of the U.S. Federal Government. A baccalaureate degree, or the equivalent, with grades resulting in an APC of at least 344 is required for direct entry. A TOP SECRET clearance is required with SPECIAL INTELLIGENCE clearance obtainable for all students.

Entry Date

Cyber Systems and Operations is a six-quarter resident course of study with entry dates in March and September. Future offerings are expected to provide the curriculum via web-based and hybrid learning options for non-resident students. The duration will depend upon the number of simultaneous courses taken. If further information is needed, contact the Academic Associate or Program Officer for this curriculum.

Degree

The Master of Science in Cyber Systems and Operations degree is comprised of courses that, in combination, provide a coherent, logical approach to a complex and rapidly evolving military and government domains. In addition to course work, each student must complete a Master's thesis or a capstone project.

The Master of Science in Cyber Systems and Operations is awarded after the satisfactory completion of a program meeting, as a minimum, the following degree requirements:

  • All courses must be satisfied through the course of study or through validation prior to graduation.
  • Completion of a minimum of 40 quarter-hours of graduate-level courses, of which at least 20 quarter hours are CY 4000 level courses.
  • To ensure a sufficient breadth in operational understanding of the cyber domain, the following course topics must be satisfied as part of the course of study or through validation prior to graduation: Cyber Mission Planning (CY4400), Network Operations in a Contested Environment (CY4600), Cyber Wargame: Blue Force Operations (CY4700), Cyber Wargame: Red Force Operations (4710), Advanced Cyber Systems and Operations (CY4750).
  • Minimum degree requirements of the NPS must be met.
  • Completion of an acceptable thesis - on a subject previously approved by the Chair, Cyber Academic Group.

Educational Skill Requirements

1.  Cyber Functions and Fundamentals. In order to provide officers skilled in the effective use of cyberspace to support military requirements, graduates of the Cyber Systems and Operations (CSO) program will have competence in the following cyber functional areas:

  • Securely Provision
  • Operate and Maintain/Network Operations/DoD Global Information Grid Operations (DGO)
  • Active Defense/Defensive Cyberspace Operations (DCO)
  • Operate and Collect/Cyber Intelligence
  • Analyze and Advise
  • Offensive Cyberspace Operations (OCO)
  • Investigate
  • Communications Electronic Attack (Comms EA)
  • Friendly Cyber Defense Forces

2.  Military Applications and Cyberspace Operations. The officer will be able to analyze cyber requirements of military operations and direct the effective employment of cyber assets in support of national and military objectives. In particular, the officer will be able to develop, compare, and evaluate courses of action for the incorporation of cyber capabilities in all CONPLAN/OPLAN stages of operation to achieve Assured C2, and maintain Freedom of Maneuver in Cyberspace, and deliver COCOM effects (including both non-kinetic effects and non-kinetic means of facilitating kinetic attack).

3. Organizational Construct and Policy. The officer will have an in-depth understanding of the administrative and operational structure and command relationships of the organizations and commands that will be operating in the cyberspace domain. Additionally, the officer will be able to recall and apply strategy, policy, and authorities (ROE, U.S. law, the Law of Armed Conflict, and national policy) as it pertains to the use of non-kinetic force.

4.  Cyber System Engineering. The officer will be able to analyze existing and proposed cyber systems for the purpose of assessing cyber requirements, capabilities and limitations, identifying capability gaps, and devising system improvements. Further, the officer will be able to develop concepts of operations for new systems including integration with existing systems and assessment of test and evaluation plans.

5. Independent Research. The officer will understand friendly and adversarial cyber infrastructures and will be able to diagram and explain subsystem relationships, interactions, and functions. Specifically, the officer will be able to describe and critique existing and planned infrastructures including (1) bottom-up systems for data collection or effects delivery, (2) middleware systems for smart push/pull services in a cloud/service-oriented-architecture, (3) top-down systems for command and control with a common operational picture, and (4) core infrastructure systems providing enabling communications. Additionally, the officer will be able to analyze specific cyber system implementations to identify adaptive cyber vulnerabilities and effects for defensive and offensive operations in both permissive and contested environments. The officer will be able to apply these analytic and problem-solving skills in Joint Information Environment operations to augment manpower with automated intelligence analytics for processing high volume, heterogeneous data sets to automatically produce high value alerts and actions in support of mission objectives.

6.  Space. The officer will understand and be able to explain the nature of Space Operations as it is applied within the realm of cyber operations. He/she will be able distinguish between the four JP 3-14 defined mission areas (Space Control, Space Support, Force Enhancement, Force Application) and interpret how current and planned space capabilities contribute to the satisfaction of these mission areas.

7. Independent Research. The officer will demonstrate the ability to conduct independent investigation through the completion of a thesis or capstone project. Thesis or capstone work will be conducted in a framework that exercises the practice of innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, and real-world applicability. Further, the officer will be able to present research goals and results in both written and oral form.

8.  Joint Professional Military Education (JPME). Per community requirements, the officer will have an understanding of warfighting within the context of operational art to include: strategy and war, theater security decision making, and joint maritime operations. This requirement is fulfilled by completing the Naval War College four-course series leading to Intermediate Level Professional Military Education and JPME phase I certification.

Additional Resources

Program Brochure

Course Matrix (resident)

Course Descriptions

Thesis/Capstone Resources


 
Master of Science in Applied Cyber Operations

Overview

The Applied Cyber Operations (ACO) curriculum addresses a range of operational and technical topics in defensive and offensive cyberspace operations. This includes computer network attack, active and passive defense, exploitation, cyber analysis via automated and manual toolsets, operations, policy, and engineering. Complementing the Cyber Systems and Operations curriculum, the Applied Cyber Operations curriculum covers a focused set of cyber topics suited for the technical enlisted workforce by providing graduates with a rigorous foundation in cyber security necessary for defensive and offensive cyber operations, as well as maintenance operations for the Global Information Grid (GIG). The degree covers the range of cyber topics needed by technicians serving military missions.

Designed to serve Navy enlisted personnel with Cryptologic Technician Networks (CTN) and Information Systems Technician (IT) ratings, as well as the respective enlisted personnel in other military services, the Applied Cyber Operations curriculum is intended to provide a deep understanding of the implementation of national and military application of integrated lines of operation, including operation of the DoD Global Information Grid (GIG), Defensive Cyberspace Operations (DCO), and Offensive Cyberspace Operations (OCO), cyber security fundamentals and the required technical operations underpinning these. Students will learn to seize and sustain an information advantage through all stages of operations, from compliance and early warning through detection, planning, targeting, cyber fires, assessing effects and resetting for follow-on plans and operations.

Site visits, laboratory exercises, seminars, guest speakers, and practical workshops complement traditional instruction. A cyber exercise is integrated into the curriculum. A capstone project allows students to apply concepts introduced, demonstrated and practiced earlier in the curriculum by working and reporting on topics of interest to stakeholders under the supervision of faculty experts. Tight integration with front-line war fighters ensures that capstone research is on target and rapidly integrated.

Requirements for Entry

A baccalaureate degree, or the equivalent, with grades resulting in an APC of at least 344 is required for direct entry. Applicants must possess a Bachelor of Science degree in a technical field, such as Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Information or Engineering Technology, or a Bachelor’s degree accompanied by completion of the following training: A and C Schools for the CTN and IT respectively, namely, Joint Cyber Analysis Course (JCAC) or IT A School and IT System Administrator C School or equivalent enlisted service schools for USA, USAF and USMC. A TOP SECRET clearance is required with SPECIAL INTELLIGENCE clearance obtainable for all students.

Entry Date

Applied Cyber Operations is a four-quarter resident course of study with entry dates in September. If further information is needed, contact the Academic Associate or Program Officer for this curriculum.

Degree

The Applied Cyber Operations curriculum is comprised of courses that, in combination, provide a coherent, logical approach to learning applied cyber systems and operations in a complex and rapidly evolving military domain. Of these courses, a subset comprises a specialization track. In addition to course work, each student must complete a capstone project.

The Master of Science in Applied Cyber Operations is awarded after satisfactory completion of a program that meets, as a minimum, the following degree requirements:

  • All required courses must be satisfied through the course of study or through validation prior to graduation.
  • Completion of a minimum of 40 quarter-hours of graduate-level courses.  At least 12 quarter-hours of courses must be at the 4000 level.
  • Completion of a specialization track.
  • Submission of an acceptable capstone project on a subject previously approved by the Chair, Cyber Academic Group.

Educational Skill Requirements

1. Cyber Functions and Fundamentals. In order to provide graduates skilled in the applications of Cyberspace to military needs, the graduate will have competence in the following functional areas:

  • Securely Provision
  • Operate and Maintain/Network Operations/DoD Global Information Grid Operations (DGO)
  • Active Defense/Defensive Cyberspace Operations (DCO)
  • Operate and Collect/Cyber Intelligence
  • Analyze and Advise
  • Offensive Cyberspace Operations (OCO)
  • Investigate
  • Communications Electronic Attack (Comms EA)
  • Friendly Cyber Defense Forces

2.  Cyber Infrastructure, Security, and Compliance. The graduate will be able to combine analytical methods with technical expertise and operational experience for effective utilization of the Global Information Grid (GIG) within the following areas: provide hardware and software support to multi-media Automated Information Systems; advise on capabilities, limitations, and conditions of equipment; implement production control procedures including input/output quality control support; implement and monitor security procedures; understand and advise on assigned mission organization0level compliance and defense of Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) systems. The graduate will understand the technical mechanisms and non-technical procedures associated with the enforcement of policies in cyber systems, and their synergistic relationships. Through an understanding of security threats and vulnerabilities, the graduate will be able to develop and deploy procedures, systems, and tools for defending cyber assets.

3.  Military Applications and Cyberspace Operations. The graduate will have a thorough knowledge of problem identification, formulation, and application of tools necessary to support decision making through all stages of operations in support of national and military objectives in the cyberspace domain to include DGO, DCO, and OCO. Attention will be given to military applications with particular focus on the ways in which cyber active defensive mechanisms and offensive effects can be assimilated at high speed in conjunction with other warfare areas and the ability to deliver COCOM-desired effects.

4.  Organizational Construct and Policy. The graduate will have an in-depth understanding of the administrative and operational structure and command relationships of the organizations and commands that will be operating in the cyberspace domain. Additionally, the graduate will be able to recall and apply strategy, policy, and authorities (ROE, U.S. law, the Law of Armed Conflict, and national policy) as it pertains to the use of non-kinetic force.

5.  Cyber Infrastructure in Support of the Joint Information Environment. The graduate will understand friendly and adversarial cyber infrastructures and will be able to diagram and explain subsystem relationships, interactions, and functions. Specifically, the graduate will be able to describe the characteristics and applications of existing and planned infrastructures including (1) bottom-up systems for data collection or effects delivery, (2) middleware systems for smart push/pull services in a cloud/service-oriented-architecture, (3) top-down systems for command and control with a common operational picture, and (4) core infrastructure systems providing enabling communications. Additionally, the graduate will be able to analyze specific cyber system implementations to identify adaptive cyber vulnerabilities and effects for defensive and offensive operations in both permissive and contested environments. The graduate will be able to apply these analytic and problem-solving skills in Joint Information Environment operations to augment manpower with automated intelligence analytics for processing high volume, heterogeneous data sets to automatically produce high value alerts and actions in support of mission objectives.

6.  Academic Research. The graduate will demonstrate the ability to conduct investigation in the context of the Joint Information Environment through the completion of a capstone project. Capstone work will be conducted in a framework that exercises problem solving, critical thinking, and real-world applicability. Further, the graduate will be able to present research goals and results in both written and oral form.

Additional Resources

Program Brochure

MACO Matrix

MACO Course Descriptions

Capstone Resources



Graduate Certificate Programs

Cyber Operations Infrastructure

Overview

The Cyber Operations Infrastructure certificate is a graduate-level, non-degree program designed to enable DoD and U.S. Government personnel to differentiate the various components of the infrastructure underpinning cyber operations for its effective use in all aspects of cyber operations.

The objective of the program is to prepare students to deploy cyber-specific assets appropriately within the DoD cyber infrastructure. Students will be able to assess how differing elements of the underlying cyber infrastructures impact cyber operations. Students will learn about the communications systems that support cyber operations and will be able to choose communications modes most suitable for a given cyber mission. They will be able to develop information usage strategies across distributed platforms and will be able to adapt their choices based upon the capabilities of these data-centric systems. They will be able to evaluate the

benefits and weaknesses of infrastructure-dependent choices and will be able to integrate these choices in cyber mission planning. Students will be able to develop strategies for cyber operations in contested situations based upon their understanding of the infrastructure.

The program consists of four courses to be taken over a minimum of a four-quarter period in the case of distance learning students. Resident students may be able to complete the certificate in three academic quarters. The total number of NPS graduate credits obtained for the certificate is 15, depending upon the choice of courses. This certificate program may be applicable toward a master's degree program in Curriculum 326.

Requirements for Entry

  • A baccalaureate degree is required.
  • Recent completion, viz. within the past 5 years, of courses in computer and network security, computer and communications networks. Students lacking these prerequisites may be acceptable to the program through their undergraduate records and other indicators of success.
  • An Academic Profile Code (APC) of 344 is required.
  • Command or company endorsement
  • A TS/SCI clearance is required

Required Courses

Both of the following courses are required.

CY3300 (4-0)     Cyber Communications Architectures (SECRET)
CY4400 (3-0)     Cyber Mission Planning (TS/SCI)

And one course from Groups 1 and 2 below

Group 1

CY4600 (3-2)     Network Operations in a Contested Environment (TS/SCI)
EC3760 (3-2)     Information Operations Systems (TS/SCI)

Group 2

CY4650 (4-0)     Information Management for Cyber Operations
CS3670 (3-2)     Information Assurance:  Secure Management of Systems

Cyber Wargaming

Overview

The Cyber Wargaming certificate is a graduate-level, non-degree program designed to enable DoD and U.S. Government personnel to effectively plan for and participate in cyber wargames based upon scenarios of interest to the DoD and U.S. Government.

The objective of the program is to prepare students to maintain a high state of readiness for cyber systems in the face of hostile action. Students will learn the fundamentals of cyber wargaming including basic game theory, scenario selection and development, and wargame execution. Students will be able to apply their understanding of risk assessment in cyber space and employment of forces and assets to achieve or support both cyber and overall mission objectives. They will be able to incorporate early detection and maintenance services in environments that may be severely degraded.

The program consists of three courses to be taken over a minimum of a three-quarter period. The total number of NPS graduate credits obtained for the certificate is 13 or 13.5, depending upon the choice of courses. This certificate program may be applicable toward a master's degree program in Curriculum 326.

Requirements for Entry

  • A baccalaureate degree is required.
  • Recent completion, viz. within the past 5 years, of courses in computer and network security, computer and communications networks. Students lacking these prerequisites may be acceptable to the program through their undergraduate records and other indicators of success.
  • An Academic Profile Code (APC) of 344 is required.

Required Courses

One of the following electives:

CY3602 (3-2)     Network Operations I
CS3690 (4-1)     Network Security
DA3104 (4-1)     Computer Network Attack and Defense

and both of the following required courses:

CY4700 (2-5)     Cyber Wargame:  Blue Force Operations
CY4710 (2-5)     Cyber Wargame:  Red Force Operations

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