Cybersecurity meets political science: AU’s new master’s program

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Cybersecurity in Augusta is taking another step forward. Augusta University announced a new master’s program to build the workforce.

“What type of cyber defense does the United States need to keep its national interests secure in the face of cyber threats from regimes such as North Korea, Iran and Russia?” Dr. Craig Albert, the Graduate Director of the Master’s of Arts and Intelligence in Security, asked.

When many think of cybersecurity, people working in front of a computer to combat internet threats comes to mind. But in reality, it’s much more complex. That is why Augusta University created a Political Science master’s program unlike any other in the nation.

“It’s one thing to talk about the coding side of cyber, the computer side of cyber, but what do you do with the policy side of cyber, with the analytics side?” Dr. Albert expressed.

That’s how AU’s Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security steps in, PAMPLIN’s, the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences College, newest program.

“If somebody hacked into our election system, or hacked into Facebook, or used legally the mechanisms that Facebook has in the virtual world, can we respond to that in any way if we feel threatened by it?” Dr. Albert questioned.

The answer right now is up in the air. Dr. Albert explained since cyberwar and cyber terrorism is so new, there are no policies or procedures in place to guide responses to threats. Additionally, a definition for cyberwar and cyberterrorism has not been established.

“The standard definition of war is you must maintain 1000 battle field deaths for it to be declared a war,” Dr. Albert told me. “So in cyber when you are talking about Russia interfering with our elections for instance, well, that is espionage for sure, but it doesn’t even fit the true notion of espionage.”

In addition to intelligence collection and security studies, the program’s third area of study is cybersecurity policy.

“Hopefully Augusta University will become the destination of understanding cyber terrorism and policy analysts when it comes to cyber terrorism,” Dr. Albert concluded.

There is a huge need for workers in the cyber field. Augusta University is now accepting applications for that  master’s program which kicks off next fall. Click here to apply and read and find out more.

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