Educating for Evolving Operational Domains

Cyber and Information Education in the Department of Defense and the Role of the College of Information and Cyberspace

by Quentin E. Hodgson, Charles A. Goldman, Jim Mignano, Karishma R. Mehta

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Research Questions

  1. What is the potential demand for cyberspace and information education in DoD?
  2. How is this demand being addressed currently across DoD educational institutions?
  3. What is CIC's optimum role as part of the DoD educational ecosystem, and what other ways can CIC support DoD components?
  4. What is the appropriate governance mechanism to support CIC executing its mission successfully?

The Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide a report on plans for closing the College of Information and Cyberspace (CIC) at the National Defense University and addressing the broader needs in the department for the types of education the college provided. DoD provided a response in April 2021 that outlined the original options considered for the college but deferred questions regarding the role for CIC and the department's needs for cyberspace and information education for a follow-on study that RAND's National Defense Research Institute conducted.

This report examines how DoD educational institutions operating at the graduate level, including CIC, are currently addressing cyberspace and information education in their curricula, the potential demand across the department for this education, and how CIC can contribute to fulfilling this demand, as well as what role it should play more broadly in supporting other DoD educational institutions and DoD components.

Key Findings

  • DoD educational institutions are currently meeting one-third to one-half of the potential demand for cyberspace and information education at the graduate level.
  • These schools take one of three approaches to cyberspace and information education: integration into the general curriculum, with no options for additional concentration; a general degree with an option to complete a concentration in cyberspace or information; or specialized degrees focused on cyberspace or information. Many also offer graduate certificates.
  • CIC should sustain and potentially grow its capacity for master's and graduate certificate education.
  • CIC's governance should include a DoD component that has a vested interest in the defense cyberspace workforce with accompanying funding to ensure CIC can sustain this role into the future.


  • Maintain CIC's dual mission educating joint warfighters and the cyberspace workforce.
  • Advertise CIC's programs more effectively across the department and beyond.
  • Strengthen governance arrangements for the cyberspace workforce education mission.
  • Position CIC as a resource on cyberspace education and research across DoD.
  • Improve cross-departmental accounting for cyberspace and information environment work roles and functions.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    How the DoD Educates Leaders and Managers in Cyber and Information

  • Chapter Three

    Comparing Demand and Supply for Cyber and Information Education

  • Chapter Four

    Evaluating Options for the College of Information and Cyberspace

  • Chapter Five

    Recommendations and Conclusion

  • Appendix A

    Legislative Requirement from Public Law 116-283, 2021

  • Appendix B

    Department of Defense Educational Institutions and Their Approach to Cyberspace and Information

This research was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Cyber Policy, and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

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