Applied Cyber Operations (MACO) - Curriculum 336

Program Officer

Brian Judy, LCDR, USN

831-656-3635, DSN 756-3635

Glasgow West, Room 3010

bpjudy@nps.edu

Academic Associate

Duane T. Davis

831-656-2239, DSN 756-2239

Code CY, Glasgow East, Room 212

dtdavi1@nps.edu

Brief Overview

The Applied Cyber Operations (ACO) curriculum addresses a range of operational and technical topics in defensive and offensive cyberspace operations. This includes computer network attack, active and passive defense, exploitation, cyber analysis via automated and manual toolsets, operations, policy, and engineering. Complementing the Cyber Systems and Operations curriculum, the Applied Cyber Operations curriculum covers a focused set of cyber topics suited for the technical enlisted workforce by providing graduates with a rigorous foundation in cyber security necessary for defensive and offensive cyber operations, as well as maintenance operations for the Global Information Grid (GIG). The degree covers the range of cyber topics needed by technicians serving military missions.

Designed to serve Navy enlisted personnel with Cryptologic Technician Networks (CTN) and Information Systems Technician (IT) ratings, as well as the respective enlisted personnel in other military services, the Applied Cyber Operations curriculum is intended to provide a deep understanding of the implementation of national and military application of integrated lines of operation, including operation of the DoD Global Information Grid (GIG), Defensive Cyberspace Operations (DCO), and Offensive Cyberspace Operations (OCO), cyber security fundamentals and the required technical operations underpinning these. Students will learn to seize and sustain an information advantage through all stages of operations, from compliance and early warning through detection, planning, targeting, cyber fires, assessing effects and resetting for follow-on plans and operations.

Site visits, laboratory exercises, seminars, guest speakers, and practical workshops complement traditional instruction. A cyber exercise is integrated into the curriculum. A capstone project allows students to apply concepts introduced, demonstrated and practiced earlier in the curriculum by working and reporting on topics of interest to stakeholders under the supervision of faculty experts. Tight integration with front-line war fighters ensures that capstone research is on target and rapidly integrated.

Requirements for Entry

A baccalaureate degree, or the equivalent, with grades resulting in an APC of at least 344 is required for direct entry. Applicants must possess a Bachelor of Science degree in a technical field, such as Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Information or Engineering Technology, or a Bachelor’s degree accompanied by completion of the following training: A and C Schools for the CTN and IT respectively, namely, Joint Cyber Analysis Course (JCAC) or IT A School and IT System Administrator C School or equivalent enlisted service schools for USA, USAF, and USMC. A TOP SECRET clearance is required with SPECIAL INTELLIGENCE clearance obtainable for all students.

Entry Date

Applied Cyber Operations is a four-quarter resident course of study with entry dates in September and March. If further information is needed, contact the Academic Associate or Program Officer for this curriculum.

Degree

The Applied Cyber Operations curriculum is comprised of courses that, in combination, provide a coherent, logical approach to learning applied cyber systems and operations in a complex and rapidly evolving military domain. Of these courses, a subset comprises a specialization track. In addition to course work, each student must complete a capstone project.

The Master of Science in Applied Cyber Operations is awarded after satisfactory completion of a program that meets, as a minimum, the following degree requirements:

  1. All required courses must be satisfied through the course of study or through validation prior to graduation.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 40 quarter-hours of graduate-level courses.
  3. At least 12 quarter-hours of courses must be at the 4000 level.
    1. To ensure a sufficient breadth in operational understanding of the cyber domain, the following course topics must be satisfied as part of the course of study or through validation prior to graduation:
    2. Introduction to Cyber Systems and Operations (CY3000), or Command and Control (CC3000)
    3. Introduction to Computer Security (CS3600),
    4. One of Cyber Network & Physical Infrastructures (EC3730), Reverser Engineering (EC3740), or Information Operations Systems (EC3760),
    5. Applied Defensive Cyber Operations (CY4700) or Adversarial Cyber Operations (CY4710).
  4. Completion of a specialization track.
  5. Submission of an acceptable capstone project on a subject previously approved by the Information Science Department Chair.

Program Length

Four Quarters. No JPME.

Specialization Tracks

Each student in the Applied Cyber Operations curriculum will choose a specialization track no later than the start of the second quarter of study. The current specializations offered by the Cyber Academic Group are as follows:

Network Operations (NetOps) Specialization

Course NumberTitleCreditsLecture HoursLab Hours
CS3670Secure Management of Systems

3

2

CS3695Network Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Mitigation

3

2

Defense Specialization

Course NumberTitleCreditsLecture HoursLab Hours
CS4677Computer Forensics

3

2

CS4684Cyber Security Incident Response and Recovery

3

2

Adversarial Techniques Specialization

Course NumberTitleCreditsLecture HoursLab Hours
CS4648Advanced Cyber Munitions

3

2

CS4678Advanced Cyber Vulnerability Assessment

4

2

Typical Course of Study

Quarter 1

Course NumberTitleCreditsLecture HoursLab Hours
CS3600Introduction to Computer Security

4

2

CS2011Computing Systems Principles

4

0

CY3000Introduction to Cyber Systems and Operations

3

0

CS3670Secure Management of Systems

3

2

CY4900Research Topics in Cyber Systems and Operations

1

0

Quarter 2

Course NumberTitleCreditsLecture HoursLab Hours
IS3502Network Operations I

4

2

CS3690Network Security

4

1

CS3695Network Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Mitigation

3

2

EC2700Introduction to Cyber Systems

3

3

CY4901Cyber Systems and Operations Research Methods

1

0

Quarter 3

Course NumberTitleCreditsLecture HoursLab Hours
CY4710Adversarial Cyberspace Operations

3

3

CY4410Cyber Policy and Strategy

3

0

EC3730Cyber Network and Physical Infrastructures

3

2

CY0809Capstone Project

0

8

CS4924Seminar Series in Computer Science and Cyber Systems and Operations

1

0

Quarter 4

Course NumberTitleCreditsLecture HoursLab Hours
CY4700Defensive Cyberspace Operations

3

3

CC4250Enterprise Architecture

4

0

ELECTCS/CY/IS/EC Cyber Elective

CY0809Capstone Project

0

8

CS4924Seminar Series in Computer Science and Cyber Systems and Operations

1

0

Educational Skill Requirements

Cyber Functions and Fundamentals. In order to provide graduates skilled in the applications of Cyberspace to military needs, the graduate will have competence in the following functional areas:

  • Operate and Maintain/Network Operations/DoD Information Network Operations (DODIN Ops)
  • Active Defense/Defensive Cyberspace Operations (DCO)
  • Operate and Collect/Cyber Intelligence
  • Analyze and Advise
  • Offensive Cyberspace Operations (OCO)
  • Investigate/hunt

Technical Foundations. The graduate will be able to apply the fundamental technical concepts underpinning CO in an operational context. In particular, the graduate will be able to employ concepts of computer architectures and operating systems, networking and mobile technologies, computer and network security, data analytics, and signals operations to address operationally relevant problems.

Military Application. The graduate will be able to analyze cyber requirements of military operations utilizing the Joint Operational Planning Process, Joint Targeting Cycle, and other applicable procedures to direct the effective employment of cyber assets in support of operational planning and execution. In particular, the graduate will be able to develop, compare, and evaluate courses of action incorporating CO, and identifying targets against which cyber capabilities might be employed to achieve effects in support of operational objectives.

Organizational Construct and Policy Context. The graduate will be able to describe the administrative and operational structure and command relationships of the organizations and commands that will be operating in the cyberspace domain and illustrate the employment of these organizational relationships in an operational environment. Additionally, the graduate will be able to recall and apply strategy, policy, and authorities (ROE, US law, the Law of Armed Conflict, and national policy) as it pertains to CO.

Comprehension of the Cyberspace Environment. The graduate will understand friendly, neutral, and adversarial cyber infrastructures and will be able to diagram and explain subsystem relationships, interactions, and functions. Additionally, the graduate will be able to analyze specific cyber system implementations to identify security and operational vulnerabilities and potential effects for defensive and offensive operations in both permissive and contested environments.

Independent Research. The graduate will demonstrate the ability to conduct investigation through the completion of a capstone project. Capstone work will be conducted in a framework that exercises practical innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, and real-world applicability. Further, the graduate will be able to present research goals and results in both written and oral form.