Capt. Seth Martin (left) and 2nd Lt. Landon Tomcho earned master’s degrees in cyber operations and computer science from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 2019. AFIT has been re-designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bruce Lambert)

AFIT’s cyber defense research earns re-designation distinction

The Air Force Institute of Technology was re-designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security through academic year 2024.

AFIT is one of eight Ohio colleges and universities to earn this distinction, joining a group of more than 275 schools across the country. To obtain the re-designation, AFIT demonstrated continued cyber defense efforts in research initiatives by faculty and students, publications, Ph.D. student production and research funding.

Since the last renewal period in 2014, AFIT faculty, students and collaborators focused on cyber defense topics, resulting in the publication of 58 journal articles, 96 conference publications, 18 book chapters and served as editors for five books. In addition, faculty received 70 research grants totaling $6,044,368 and graduated 27 doctoral students with cyber defense-related dissertation topics.

“This re-designation demonstrates the technical excellence available at AFIT through our world-class faculty and cyber operationally-ready students. We are responsive to the needs of the cyber community, and I am delighted that others externally see us the same way we see ourselves. Further, the re-designation with enhance and advance our readiness for tomorrow’s cyber challenges,” said Dr. Adedeji Badiru, dean, AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management.

AFIT has a long history of excellence in research and education in cyber defense. In 2002, AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management instantiated the Center for Cyberspace Research as one of AFIT’s first research centers. CCR’s leadership excellence in the field led to AFIT being designated the Air Force Cyberspace Technical Center of Excellence.

“The Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research re-designation by NSA and DHS complements and validates the designation of AFIT in 2008 by the secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff of the Air Force as the Air Force Cyber Technical Center of Excellence,” said Dr. Todd Stewart, AFIT director and chancellor.

The NSA and DHS jointly sponsor the CAE-R program with the goal to reduce vulnerability in national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise. Institutions designated as CAE-Rs are recognized by the U.S. government for their cyber defense programs and have degree programs that are a top choice for students who want to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the cybersecurity workforce.

More information on AFIT’s Center for Cyberspace Research can be found at

More information on the NSA/DHS CAE program can be found at

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