The University of Central Missouri and the Missouri National Guard recently signed a joint agreement that includes collaboration on a cybersecurity curriculum, officer education, and development of future cyber technicians.

According to a press release from UCM, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed October 2, by UCM President Charles Ambrose and Major General Stephen L. Danner, the adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard.

Missouri National Guard Military Police
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Ambrose said, “This is an opportunity to formalize some work that we’ve been talking about as mission critical in the state of Missouri for some time. There was a lot of effort made in the spring to really put purpose to an MOU that will allow us to demonstrate not only to the region, but to the state, that our work together can cause some great things to happen.”

The press release states, the MOU allows the university to cooperate with the Missouri National Guard to establish a future cyber hub at The Missouri Innovation Campus, in Lee's Summit, taking advantage of technological resources that currently make it possible for the delivery of UCM’s undergraduate and graduate degrees in cybersecurity, and technology resources.

UCM says the facility opened this fall, and is a joint initiative of UCM and the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. It places high school and college students under one roof, and has a goal that includes accelerating the time of degree-completion, providing experiential learning in cooperation with Kansas City corporations, and graduating students with little or no debt.

Consistent with such goals, the MOU also provides opportunities for collaboration on the recruitment of current and future Guard members through the promotion of accelerated degree pathways that will reduce the time to complete a degree and the cost of a college education; the review of civilian cyber education opportunities to include military training and experiences that could be applied to meeting UCM cybersecurity degree requirements; and opportunities to provide an education with no out-of-pocket cost to Guardsmen. It also provides an opportunity for UCM and the Guard to collaborate on recruitment and development of high school students into “cyber warriors” by means of the dual credit programs through either the Innovation Track or Missouri Innovation Campus accelerated degree pathways.

Danner said the opportunities that are made possible through the MOU, benefit Guard members both in their military service and in their work in businesses and other professions outside of their military service.

Danner stated he is pleased to sign the MOU with UCM, “because it enhances the Missouri National Guard’s cyber capabilities in many ways. First of all, it will allow our citizen soldiers to work with UCM in order to further their cyber education and degrees as we work together to better our soldiers, not only their understanding and learning, but to assist them both in their civilian careers and in their military careers.”

“I think it is a great thing for the university too,” Danner added, “I believe the Missouri National Guard citizen soldiers – both air and army – bring a lot with them in a student body atmosphere and also enhance the university’s ability to present the kind of programs that are necessary for the future in cyber technology, particularly the kind of cyber that has a military piece to it.”

Following the MOU signing, participants in the event were provided a tour of the MIC facilities by two students who are currently enrolled in The MIC program. This was followed by a cybersecurity presentation by Anshuman Singh, assistant professor of computer science and coordinator of the academic cybersecurity program at UCM.

Singh said the Missouri National Guard has an important role in protecting the state’s infrastructure and assets, and earning a degree from UCM will make the men and women who serve in the Guard better prepared to help protect Missouri’s cyber infrastructure.  He stressed that having a facility such as The MIC is important in meeting this goal, not only for the benefit of the Missouri National Guard but in serving similar needs among businesses in the Kansas City area.

“This is a game changer. It helps us get to the next level,” he said in talking about The MIC. “We are very equipped in Warrensburg, but having a facility of this kind in Lee’s Summit helps us connect to businesses as well as provide training to people who are working so that they can better apply their skills in their job. So, this helps us to reach a much wider audience.”

University of Central Missouri
Kurt Parsons

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