WSU Selected as Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University has been designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), a program sponsored jointly by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in the national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and to increase the number of industry professionals.

The new CAE-CDE designation will help strengthen Weber State’s partnerships with the local Defense Industrial Base (DIB) community, including Hill Air Force Base, Boeing, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. The university will continue to develop a talent pipeline for government and DIB jobs that benefits the local economy, provides resources to the federal government and further hardens the defenses of northern Utah and surrounding areas.

Ashley Light, 2019 network management technology graduate

Student internships and collaborative research with faculty will increase and evolve with input from DIB partners. During the 2020-21 academic year, Weber State had 174 declared network management technology (NMT) majors and 68 graduates from the program.

To support its robust cyber-defense education, WSU’s School of Computing launched the Weber State University Cybersecurity Initiative (WSUCI), which gives students the opportunity to obtain real-world skills while receiving training on the future of cyber-defense research and practices. 

“Weber State’s designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education positions our institution as the hub of cybersecurity for the northern Utah region, providing an organizational and management center to convene and coordinate efforts related to academic, industry and government cybersecurity initiatives and projects,” said Brian Rague, School of Computing professor. “We're very excited to advance Utah’s leadership in this essential and rapidly growing discipline.” 

In March 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center released its 2020 Internet Crime Report, which includes information about 791,790 complaints of suspected internet crime — an increase of more than 300,000 complaints compared to 2019 — with reported losses in the U.S. exceeding $4.2 billion. 

As all industries deal with information security issues, Weber State’s Cybersecurity Initiative takes a university-wide, collaborative approach to promote cyber-defense education to students outside computer science, including Utah’s K-12 students.

“We want to help students at an early age become excited about information security as a career,” Rague said. “The overall vision of the WSUCI is to provide resources and opportunities to engage the public on the importance of protecting information and data.” 

Ashley Light, a 2019 network management technology graduate, said her education prepared her for the challenges faced in the information-security industry. “The cybersecurity concepts I learned at Weber State have been invaluable. From learning about basic physical security to learning more technical device configurations, I will continue to use this knowledge for the rest of my life both in and out of the workplace.”

Weber State colleges involved in the initiative include the College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology; the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics; the Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions; and the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences.

The Cybersecurity Initiative also will collaborate with Weber State’s Information Security Office, which will provide information security materials to all the university’s students, faculty and staff.

Weber State joins Brigham Young University and Southern Utah University as the three institutions in Utah that hold the CAE-CDE distinction. The designation will remain active through the academic year 2026.

For more information about the Weber State’s School of Computing, visit

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Allison Barlow Hess, Public Relations director
801-626-7948 •


Brian Rague, School of Computing professor and College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology Associate Dean
801-626-7377 •