In 2020, Texas A&M partnered with the other five senior military colleges to create “cyber institutes” to provide talent pipelines to the Department of Defense (DoD). Aggies contributed to the initiative by establishing the Defense Cyber Leader Development Program (DCLDP). This two-year program, valued at approximately $30,000 per student, offers hands-on training, industry certifications, internships and mentoring to prepare graduates for DoD cyber mission force and cybersecurity work roles.
Dr. John Walter, the program’s director, expressed that its goal is to ensure the best and brightest minds are equipped to safeguard the nation’s interests. “U.S. government agencies realized how competitive recruiting had become within the technology world, and they knew it would be challenging to attract young people to a cyber career within the federal agencies,” Walter explained.
Each year, 20 students pursuing one of the three cybersecurity minor tracks are selected for the program. “We provide all the training they need for as little cost as possible,” Walter shared. During the school year, the students are compensated for working four to 15 hours per week at the Texas A&M University System Security Operations Center. “They’re just starting out, but they’re becoming experts in real time,” he said.“They learn techniques like how to trace intruders into a network and find out where they’re from.”