The National Security Agency (NSA) has chosen Cal State San Bernardino to be a leader of its core workforce development initiative, selecting it for a $10.5 million grant and naming the university’s Cybersecurity Center as the Community National Center for Cybersecurity Education.

This prestigious designation illustrates CSUSB’s continued prominence as the premier institution of higher education for cybersecurity education and took effect Sept. 18, 2020. 

The announcement was made during a virtual presentation on Oct. 7 that featured Cal State San Bernardino President Tomás D. Morales; U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar representing California’s 31st Congressional District; Diane Janosek, commandant of the National Security Agency’s National Cryptologic School; and Tony Coulson, executive director of the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center.

As the Community National Center for Cybersecurity Education, the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center will establish and manage three Center of Academic Excellence-C Communities of Practice, coordinate cutting edge research, establish and support five regional hubs around the country, and support cybersecurity education nationally, Coulson said. 

“The United States has a deficit of over 500,000 cybersecurity workers. This is an opportunity for over 300 colleges and universities to work together to help solve the workforce crisis including K-12, and over 20 initiatives and hundreds of partners across the United States,” said Coulson, who will oversee the center.

The center also serves as a national model for excellence in cybersecurity education. It’s innovative curriculum, community outreach, and education initiatives received national attention and praise. Innovative project ideas such as the NICE Challenges and the Cyber Realm Card Game, developed at CSUSB, continue to lead the way in cybersecurity education. Recently CSUSB, also embarked on several projects like INSuRE, sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA), as well as building a Virtual Security Operations Center.

Morales said the designation and grant shows the great work being done by the Cybersecurity Center and the university’s dedication to providing an exceptional academic experience in developing society’s future leaders.

“We are deeply honored by the NSA’s designation of Cal State San Bernardino’s Cybersecurity Center as the Community National Center for Cybersecurity Education and its generous $10 million grant,” Morales said. “It reflects not only on the outstanding work of our Cybersecurity Center, but also on our faculty and staffs’ overall commitment and enthusiasm in creating innovative and inclusive curriculum and programs that develop our DIVERSE future leaders.”

Tony Coulson, executive director of the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center, with some of his students. The National Security Agency selected the university to be a leader of its core workforce development initiative.
Tony Coulson, executive director of the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center, with some of his students. The National Security Agency selected the university to be a leader of its core workforce development initiative.

Aguilar, who made the formal announcement of the designation and grant, said the prestigious designation complements the Cybersecurity Center’s ongoing work.

“I worked to re-establish the DoD Cyber Scholarship Program so that schools like CSUSB could demonstrate the full potential of their students, faculty and programs. This investment in CSUSB’s Cybersecurity Center is a tribute to the hard work of Dr. Coulson and his team, and will allow CSUSB to remain at the forefront of training our country’s next generation of cyber security professionals,” said Aguilar.

Janosek, commandant of the NSA Cryptologic School, said the NSA is reaching out to premier elite academic institutions to help develop the next generation of cyber talent to fill the significant gap of needed cybersecurity workers.

“The partnership that we are looking at is the coalition leadership role that CSUSB is going to be doing for us,” Janosek said. “And they’re going to have a partnership between academia and government to build upon the foundation to build a qualified and diverse cyber workforce and this workforce is going to be tapped across all 50 states. We’re developing this cadre to really service the nation, not just the federal sector.”

Janosek said she has the unique privilege of serving the national security educational needs and help develop cybersecurity workforce of the nation’s future.

“I love that role because it really brings us together as Americans to serve each other and so what this unique partnership is going to be doing is to develop cybersecurity professionals, diverse cybersecurity professionals to fill that gap that you just heard of and its going to be working in cybersecurity defense arenas in defense, intelligence, finance, agriculture, energy, transportation, healthcare, telecommunications, critical manufacturing,” Janosek said. “We need cybersecurity professionals in all of those of those sectors and where else to look but to here to own Americans developing the next generation of cyber talent.”

The CSUSB Cybersecurity Center, part of the university’s Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, will continue the impressive array of cybersecurity programs, tool kits and other critical components to support the CAE community. The program provides an exceptional education for the next generation of cybersecurity leaders for the region and the nation. The center is a leader in developing applied and innovative education in cybersecurity that provides superior preparation for student success.

“Our Cybersecurity Center under the leadership of Dr. Coulson has done great work developing cybersecurity programs for CSUSB, as well as in collaboration with various colleges and universities, and local school districts when creating state of the art cybersecurity programs,” said Lawrence Rose, dean of the Jack H. Brown College.  

The CSUSB Cybersecurity Center has attained a high standard of excellence, leveraging its great strengths and successfully receiving a host of impressive grants for the cybersecurity program.

From 2010-2020, the center brought in over $17.5 million worth of grant sponsored programs from entities like the National Security Agency (NSA), National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), National Cybersecurity Training and Education (NCyTE) Center, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Through the grant sponsored activities of the center, students can compete for scholarships, participate in national conferences, and research emerging cybersecurity issues. 

Recently, three students from the program were selected to receive full scholarships in the fall from the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program (DoD CySp), which seeks to recruit the nation’s top cyber talent to help protect the nation against threats on information systems and networks.

The DoD CySp program is one of the most competitive and prestigious in the nation. The three CSUSB students were chosen from a national pool similar to a National Football League draft and were among the top picks for their agencies.

Visitors from other universities, community colleges, government agencies, and industry flock to CSUSB to learn from the university as CSUSB continues to produce some of the best talents in the nation. In this past year, professionals from both the public and private sectors partnered with the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center on several projects, evidence that the talent at CSUSB is unparalleled.

Visit the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center website for more information.

The center’s director, Tony Coulson is available for interviews regarding the NSA designation and $10.5 million grant as well as the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center and its programs. Contact Joe Gutierrez at the CSUSB Office of Strategic Communication at (951) 236-4522 or email

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