U of A gets $1.5 million to start new information and intelligence program

U of A expanding cyber security department

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - After Russians attempted to influence the U.S. elections in 2016, the University of Arizona’s cyber security program is molding and changing to become better at helping students detect these types of threats and more in an ever-changing on-line world.

"The threats have moved from looking at stealing secrets to really imposing national will and power through cyber operations," said Jason Denno, director of cyber operations at the University of Arizona South campus.

The new program will be a Bachelor of Applied Science in intelligence and information operations. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) awarded the U of A with a five-year, $1.5 million grant. Students will learn how to detect, hide and handle cyber security threats. Combining cyber security with intelligence and information techniques, Denno said, makes the program unique.

Part of the program also allows for students to learn a language that is not commonly spoken. Students can also get a chance to study abroad and immerse themselves in the culture of their new language.

Denno said this allows students to become more well-rounded intelligence officials who are more employable. With cyber warfare becoming a steady threat to nations, individuals and companies, Denno said this type of education is important.

"That warfare has started already," said Denno.

He and his team actually designed an online learning tool that has mock social media websites and online profiles so students can learn what it would actually be like to track and find online threats.

With this type of degree, students will be able to work at the Department of Defense, intelligence agencies or even local law enforcement agencies. The program will be open to students in the fall of 2019.

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