The importance of the new "Alliance" between the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and several universities including ISU is that Cyber security and Cyber defense has become a critical component of US military security. Hacking attacks, identity theft, strikes against critical infrastructure are all existential dangers. We will be working with USSTRATCOM at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha to engage our ISU students in programs targeted at these threats. This will also provide fabulous career opportunities for our students in both government but also in the private sector.
As you know ISU has one of the first National Security Agency (NSA) "Centers of Excellence in Information Assurance" INFAS. It is a joint program between Computer Science, Engineering, MIS (College of Business), Mathematics, and Political Science. Doug Jacobsen, Prof of Engineering is the director of that great program.
Political Science is most interested in the policy aspects of cyber security, cyber crime, cyber warfare, and cyber terrorism. Dr. Ellen Pirro, Pol Sci, has been the lead in engaging our students from this perspective. Without policy and integration of decision makers and military/law enforcement assets terrorism and cyber threats cannot be effectively addressed. Just look at the mess in Belgium and Europe where law enforcement agencies do not cooperate and are handicapped by bad policy and laws such as not allowing arrests of terrorists after dark because that would disturb people! SO our role as analysts of policy gives our students a HUGE role in this process.
Our role as political scientists is to analyze and make recommendations regarding the INTEGRATION of policy and government agency structures. The computer engineering/science component is focused like laser on the "gearhead" – i.e. "geek" – part of this such as finding new algorithms, writing new software, developing apps, coding, and designing hardware tools to protect, defend, repel, and perhaps in the future, eliminate these many threats.
If you want to see the most recent example of this threat see, "The Obama administration is expected to blame Iranian hackers as soon as Thursday for a coordinated campaign of cyber attacks in 2012 and 2013 on several U.S. banks and a New York dam."