Embry-Riddle Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach Campus has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The new National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education (CDE) designation includes a focus area of Secure Software Development. 

Embry-Riddle is the only CAE/CDE in the state of Florida having the Secure Software Development focus area and is one of only five universities in the nation that have this specialized designation.

“The Center of Excellence designation by the NSA and DHS is a major accomplishment for our Cybersecurity and Assured Systems Engineering Center (CyBASE),” said Dr. Remzi Seker, Director of CyBASE and Professor of Computer Science in the College Engineering. “As one of only five schools in the country with a Secure Software Development specialization, our students and research teams should see immediate benefits in access to prospective research grant awards, scholarships, and job opportunities.”

“The CAE designation recognizes that cybersecurity is a campus-wide practice involving other departments, including the Security Studies & International Affairs (SSIA) Department in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as our campus IT Department,” said Dr. Tim Wilson, chair of the Department of Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering. “Dr. Seker, with the help of Drs. Glenn Dardick and Gary Kessler in SSIA, have done a tremendous job in bringing a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education to Embry-Riddle.”

Information security is one of the fastest-growing and best-compensated fields in the information technology industry, with worldwide spending having just passed the $76 billion mark, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. The estimated number of cybersecurity jobs to be filled today exceeds 260,000 and job openings are expected to increase almost 20 percent in the next 10 years.

“Over the last four years, Embry-Riddle’s research capacity has grown tremendously and now includes emphasis in fields like cybersecurity in aerial systems, aeronautical navigation and avionics, network security and forensics, and applied cryptography,” said Dr. Kessler, professor of cybersecurity and chair of SSIA. “This includes hot topics like the vulnerability of mobile devices and unmanned aerial systems (drones), cloud computing security, and eHealth privacy and security.”

“The new CAE designation for the Daytona Beach Campus offers research opportunities for our students that are only available at a few universities in the country, while also boosting our program to help meet the growing national demand for highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals,” noted Seker. “There are also strategic and economic benefits, plus job creation opportunities for businesses and government agencies, both locally and across Florida.”


CyBASE, in the Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering Department of the College of Engineering, performs research in cybersecurity associated with critical infrastructures and assured systems such as aviation and aerospace systems. The center hosts researchers composed of faculty members from different programs and professionals from different departments at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.

CyBASE projects are carried out in the Cybersecurity Engineering Lab (CybEL) or in the Digital Systems Laboratory. Degree programs include a Cybersecurity Minor and Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management & Policy offered by the Department of Security Studies & International Affairs.

The cybersecurity engineering area of concentration in the Computer Science program and the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering (MSCybE) degree are offered by the Department of Electrical, Computer, Software, & Systems Engineering

Students can also join The White Hat Eagles Cybersecurity Student Club and participate in activities that include workshops, online capture the flag competitions hosted by different universities across the world, collaborating on a department-wide robotics project and research and analysis commercially available, off-the-shelf equipment such as smart home appliances and wearables. 

The College of Security and Intelligence at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Ariz., campus offers a B.S. in Cyber Intelligence and Security. Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy.