The University of North Georgia received approximately $1.475 million in federal funding to establish a cyber security institute, along with five other senior military colleges, according to a press release from UNG.

“Included in the 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act, the funds are part of a $10 million Department of Defense (DOD) appropriation to the National Security Agency (NSA) for these institutes.” (UNG).

According to the press release, the funding was provided by the DOD due to a “shortage of qualified cyber professionals to join its ranks.” (UNG). The institute’s goal will be to eliminate this shortage by training and educating a new generation of cyber professionals. "We are excited to be able to expand what we already are doing in developing a pipeline of professionals who can serve in military or civilian jobs to tackle cyber issues that touch virtually every aspect of society," said Dr. Mary Gowan, dean of UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business. (UNG). In a time of rising cyber security threats, it is essential that the DOD is equipped with a team of qualified and diverse cyber security experts. Educating the next generation of diverse cyber-related students will provide the DOD with this team.

“The DOD funds will allow for scholarships for women, minorities, first-generation college students, those from rural communities and others to get started in cyber-related careers, said Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science and director of the UNG Center for Cyber Operations Education.” (Diverse Military). According to Payne, diversity is especially essential in providing adequate national security, and that the funding will support the university in educating a diverse group of students on cyber security. (Diverse Military).

"This grant and the scholarships it provides will give more students a chance to pursue their degree in cybersecurity without having to worry about working more or taking out loans to pay for tuition," Payne said. "NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone has said, 'The threat is diverse; our response must also be diverse.' We know we need more diversity in the cyber workforce. This program gives these students a chance to show they have what it takes in cyber and join the fight." (UNG.)

UNG’s Center for Cyber Operations Education will fall under the new cyber institute, with Payne as interim executive director (UNG).

"We are very pleased to have a program of such excellence and capacity in response to this critical need. This funding is much-needed support," said Dr. Ash Mady, head of UNG's Department of Computer Science and Information Systems. "It reflects partnership. Our community and companies communicate needs and provide support, and we educate and respond to that need." (UNG).