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NMMI to join cybersecurity pilot program

The New Mexico Military Institute plans to be part of a national cybersecurity educational training program starting in fall 2022. (Daily Record File Photo)

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The New Mexico Military Institute plans to be part of a national pilot program to offer a cybersecurity program for cadets.

The NMMI Board of Regents agreed Thursday that the Institute will be part of a U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program intended to prepare students for cybersecurity careers.

“Cybersecurity expertise is in high demand in government, across private industry and throughout the corporate world,” said Jeremy Leaton, with the NMMI marketing and communications unit.

He said the field requires understanding of multiple academic disciplines, including math, social sciences and other sciences. Cadets also will learn from officials with local and regional law enforcement organizations, other governmental entities and industry.

“Thus cadets in our cybersecurity program will undergo experiential learning in multiple disciplines and simultaneously appreciate the real-world relevance of what they are inculcating during the four-year program,” Leaton said.

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Leaton indicated that the program will begin in fall 2022, with entering ninth graders eligible to start the program.

According to information provided by the U.S. Army JROTC, the program is envisioned as occurring over four years, with students able to earn at least two industry certificates during that time.

The program materials also indicate that students would not be required to commit to military service or learn combat skills as part of the program and that military recruitment would not be conducted.

The Army would provide instructor training and certification, classroom learning materials and technology, competition fee payments and possibly part of the instructor’s pay.

Leaton said the Institute will not know for sure exactly what additional resources it will need to provide until program leaders visit the Institute later this year.

He also said that about 80 cadets, or 20% of the student body, are expected to participate once the full four-year program is in place.

Leaton said that only 1% of the Army’s 2,000 JROTC programs are being asked to participate in the pilot program in 2022.

“By being designated as one of these premier schools,” he said, “NMMI continues its tradition of being a military school of distinction and a beacon for students seeking the best in an educational experience.”

The cybersecurity program is being developed in partnership with several organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the University of Alabama at Huntsville and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.