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Release 12-249 / June 12, 2012
U.S. Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center Selects College's
Digital Forensics Program for Academic Excellence Honors

     Anne Arundel Community College was one of eight colleges and universities nationwide to be designated as a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence (CDFAE) by the U.S. Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3).

     Dawn R. Blanche, instructional specialist in cybersecurity at AACC, said the conditional designation means that AACC students enrolled in the college’s new Cyber Forensics associate degree or certificate programs are being trained in curricula approved by the DC3 curriculum board as meeting the same objectives in training that the DC3 gives its own employees. Students who complete those programs also will be eligible to sit for an exam that certifies their digital forensics knowledge and skills, a boost for anyone wanting a cyber forensics position in either the public or the private sector.

      As one of the eight institutions receiving the designation, AACC is working with DC3 and the other colleges and universities to build viable components of the exam, as well as to hone the cyber forensics programs so that they meet the up-to-date requirements workers will need to combat real cyber threats.

      Since fall 2010, cybersecurity faculty members Dr. Bruce George and Ken Harris have been working in collaboration with DC3. In December 2011, eight students in Blanche’s “Cyber Forensics” course competed in the DC3’s International Digital Forensics Challenge in two four-person teams. The challenge drew 1,147 teams from all 50 states and 52 countries. Despite entering with only 17 days left in the competition, one AACC team finished first in the community college division and was among the top 10 teams on the leaders’ board, and the other team placed third. The combination of being part of that competition and working with DC3 to more closely mold AACC’s curriculum to match real-world requirements led the college to receive the League for Innovation in the Community College’s 2012 Innovation of the Year Award.

      AACC is one of only two community colleges in the nation to receive the CDFAE. The other is Howard Community College. Johns Hopkins University rounds out the three Maryland institutions that received the CDFAE designation.