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NPS’ Data Science, AI Certificate Programs Support DOD Workforce Development

Data Science

Building on the university’s highly-regarded Harnessing Artificial Intelligence video course, current and new four-course graduate certificate programs in data science and artificial intelligence (AI) provide critical support to the Navy and DOD as these organizations seek to advance the development of their AI workforce.

On Sept. 9, during the DOD’s semi-annual Artificial Intelligence Symposium and Exposition, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper affirmed that the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) in partnership with the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Defense Acquisition University will collaboratively develop an intensive six-week pilot course delivered to more than 80 defense acquisition professionals of all ranks and grades.

“These trainees will learn how to apply AI and data science skills to our operations,” Esper said in his remarks. “With the support of Congress, the Department plans to request additional funding for the services to grow this effort over time and deliver an AI-ready workforce to the American people.”

Just as the university’s highly-regarded Harnessing Artificial Intelligence video course paved the way for its support of the pilot course, NPS is well positioned to support Esper’s declaration for further workforce development through its existing Data Science Certificate, and an upcoming similar certificate program in Artificial Intelligence.

In the ongoing effort to expand the Navy’s knowledge and expertise in the fields of data science and artificial intelligence, NPS faculty have developed courses that enable students to quickly gain insights in these critical disciplines. Data science programs are far from new at the university with coursework developed under the auspices of the NPS Data Science and Analytics Group (DSAG).

In addition to the advanced coursework developed through DSAG, leading faculty at the university recognized the broader interdisciplinary nature of the subject matter, and the expertise in residence at NPS. This led to the launch of a new effort coined CISER, or the Consortium for Intelligent Systems Education and Research, that takes a more wholistic approach to integrating education and research in intelligent systems (artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science) across the university.

The result, officials note, is not only improved support for the certificate programs, but an improved capacity to support broader workforce development for the DOD, as well as the ability to lead advanced research in the intelligent systems space.

While the focus of CISER is new, the Data Science Certificate is not, with two cohorts of professionals from diverse backgrounds and leadership levels benefitting from the four-course certificate programs. The third offering of the Data Science certificate begins in January 2021.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ross J. Schuchard is an NPS assistant professor of Operations Research (OR) and the Technical Director for DSAG. He’s also a veteran of the Army’s Future Command, U.S. Army Cyber Command and various government agencies.

“Demand for DSAG sponsored research and student enrollment in the data science certificate continues to grow at exceptional rates,” said Schuchard. “Based on current enrollment projections, the data science certificate program will graduate its seventh cohort of data scientists for DOD by the end of the summer term [of 2022].”

NPS Lecturer Kevin Maher manages the Data Science Certificate and is the point of contact for the program.

“Data Science has emerged as an area critical to the mission of the Navy and the Department of Defense because of the central role it plays in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, talent management, cyber-security, and other related areas of critical interest,” said Maher.

“A thorough understanding of the underlying infrastructure that supports Data Science as well as the statistical and machine learning methods employed is essential for the correct application and interpretation of results of a Data Science effort. The certificate program is designed to provide that skill set.”

For more information on the Data Science for Military, and AI for Military graduate certificate programs, visit the CISER website at


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