Understanding the role of cyberspace in military operations is not limited to just the cyber experts and practitioners, especially in this modern era of Great Power Competition. With this in mind, the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is launching the all-new CY4000 “Cyberspace and Military Operations” course, a new one-credit online class for the upcoming Summer Quarter, starting July 6, and it is open to all students.
Developed by a diverse group of NPS professors, including those from the Computer Science and National Security Affairs departments, CY4000 goes beyond the technology of cyberspace to explore its workings, uses and significance.
“Many people know something about some of the topics in CY4000, but not everyone is familiar with the broad set of issues associated with the use of cyber-related technology,” said NPS Distinguished Professor of Computer Science Dr. Cynthia Irvine, representing the group that developed CY4000. “This class is intended to provide everyone with a baseline, and then a springboard from which to increase their knowledge and understanding of this complex domain. Because both the technology and geopolitical context in which it operates is rapidly evolving, we hope that this course can be regularly updated to reflect change.”
Students will not just learn about different aspects of cyberspace, but also how they interconnect, which is essential when formulating a cyberspace strategy.
“There are a lot of moving parts to understanding what goes on in cyberspace, and all of these have to be understood to some extent,” said Irvine. “For example, our military may consider taking out networks in a certain area as part of an operation, but that may affect humanitarian activities as well as allied military missions. The course is intended to touch upon many issues and allow students to view cyberspace from the perspective of Great Power Competition.”
Irvine added the course will provide a unified framework within which students will gain an overview of cyberspace, and then be able to focus on specific topics and become more conversant in areas of particular interest.
CY4000 joins the NPS catalog of one-credit courses , and will consist of 21 pre-recorded lectures taught by several professors and subject matter experts (SME) covering cyber power in the GPC, the cyber enterprise, cyber technology, the operational domain, and strategy, power and policy.
“The philosophy behind the course is that by having SMEs give the lectures, the central ideas associated with each topic will be carefully conveyed,” noted Irvine. “A total of 18 members of the NPS faculty and staff are teaching the course. We are very lucky to have such a large number of faculty members with deep, diverse knowledge of cyberspace-relevant topics.”
While open to all NPS students, the course’s developers would like to see it extended beyond the NPS campus to reach a large number of Naval officers.
“I think it will be very useful to ensure that everyone has a good appreciation of cyberspace and its place in military operations because it’s a very fast-moving ecology, ” Irvine said. “Not only do we want to touch NPS students who are shaping the future, but we want to make sure that decision makers and those in the rest of the force have this broad perspective.”