OSI Commander tours new DC3 Cyber Training Academy

  • Published
  • By Stephen Murphy
  • DC3 Public Affairs

The Office of Special Investigations Commander visited the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center’s (DC3) new Cyber Training Academy (CTA) facility in Hanover, Md., March 11, 2020. 

Brig. Gen. Terry L. Bullard toured the new facilities for the first time where he met with CTA staff members while exploring the new spaces and features.

“The new DC3 facility better matches the unparalleled support that DC3 has been providing to DoD and our international partners for more than 20 years,” said General Bullard. “I was particularly impressed by the state-of-the-art facility, the incredibly impressive faculty, and the partnership we have that allows us to continue training and building our cyber capacity.”

CTA, in its earliest form, was established in 2001 in partnership with OSI as a fulfillment of a 1998 directive from the then Deputy Secretary of Defense that the Air Force establish a joint DoD computer forensics laboratory and training program.

The Secretary of the Air Force, as DoD Executive Agent, designated the OSI Commander as overall program manager for both activities, placing OSI at the helm in establishing the Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory, later renamed the Cyber Forensics Laboratory, and the Defense Computer Investigations Training Academy, later renamed the Cyber Training Academy, to reflect the expanded training mission.

Both the lab and the academy became the foundation for what eventually evolved into today’s DC3, which now includes four additional Lines of Effort (LOE) – the Analytical Group; Technical Solutions Development; Vulnerability Disclosure Program, and the Defense Industrial Base Collaborative Information Sharing Environment.

Throughout the years, DC3’s LOEs have continually been adapted and improved to meet the evolving needs of its customers, and CTA’s new facility is just another example. Five of the 10 classrooms are wholly dedicated to Defense Criminal Investigative Organizations (DCIO) and Military Department Counterintelligence Organizations (MDCO) training. Newly developed course offerings specific to Internet of Things devices, the Dark Web, cryptocurrency, etc., will help meet prioritized requirements of the DCIO/MDCO community.

“The OSI team, the Department of the Air Force and our international partners will benefit greatly from the training we receive at DC3’s Cyber Training Academy,” said General Bullard. “The curriculum ensures our teams will be prepared to protect the Department of the Air Force, the Nation, and our partner nations from a variety of threats they face each and every day.”

Previously, CTA’s in-house classrooms had been located in Columbia, Md., about 20 miles from CTA’s main offices in Linthicum, Md. The move allows CTA to have its supervisory support and local classrooms in the same location.

“The first benefit we noticed since opening was increased engagement between staff and our students,” said Cindy Sating, CTA registrar. “The government staff has been able to get real-time feedback from students about their training which has been very positive.”

Another new feature is CTAs Security Operations Center (SOC). The SOC looks similar to the other CTA classrooms; however, it features a training system that delivers real-world practice scenarios, capture-the-flag training events and practice operations. It will serve as a designated area where students can immerse themselves in real world operations or prepare for training exercises. It will function as part of future capstone courses, and will be available to DoD teams and personnel on a space-available basis to conduct tool assessments, team practices and unclassified event/scenario planning.

“Teams can be located in various classrooms throughout the academy as aggressor forces to test the TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures), the knowledge, and the response of the SOC team,” said Sating. “Leadership has the ability to watch the actions of both the SOC and aggressor from the conference room or another classroom if required.” 

As of 2019, the Academy has recorded more than 19,000 student course enrollments. The CTA offers more than two dozen courses organized within specialty areas. The academy provides in-residence and online training to DoD, and select interagency and allied military personnel, enabling them to protect DoD, U.S. critical infrastructure, and corresponding allied information systems from unauthorized use, criminal, fraudulent and foreign intelligence activities.

For more information about DC3s Cyber Training Academy, visit https://www.dc3.mil/cyber-training.