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JROTC gets new cybersecurity program

Only 11 high schools in the U.S, including one in Alabama, were selected for the pilot program.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — One way or another, we are all connected to the cyber world. 

And with technology becoming more and more common in today's world, cyber threats and attacks are also becoming more common. 

A new JROTC program hopes to get the next generation ready to fight these attacks. It's four-year, cyber program that is part of the Army’s effort to infuse critical STEM curriculum in high schools across the country. 

Crystal Armstrong, JROTC Cyber instructor, says, "So, cyber is in everything: cell phone use, when you're trying to do a cash app or you know, you want to buy something, you know, using your Apple, Apple Pay- all that is cyber. So we use it every day. Well, understand the importance and security and the safety of it. So that's our goal."

They plan on doing so by bringing cyber security education and awareness to high school students. Not only will this ensure that we have people in 5, 10, 20 plus years that can protect our cyber technologies, but it also provides a thriving workforce, especially in the age of technology we are currently living in.

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Johnny K. Davis, U.S. Army Cadet Command, says, "We're going to set aside a number of programs and create a cyber pilot. So this will be the first time that we take the opportunity to focus on an emerging technology that's one of the fastest-growing in the US and focus it on our nation's youth."

Every day we become more immersed in these technologies, so much so that we are vulnerable to cyber attacks that could turn our lives upside down, from a personal level all the way up to national security. It's an issue we didn't have to think of a decade ago. This is why JROTC is focusing efforts on this issue now.

Armstrong explains, "Well, the kids are on their phones all day, every day. Cell phones are the gateway into what they see in the world. So the goal is for them to actually understand the importance of using those devices, whether cell phones, laptops, and everything and actually teach them how to be safe on those."

Davis agrees. "I think all my daughters have cell phones, they all have laptops. And so that keeps me up at night knowing that there's a vulnerability in our own home. So we need to start focusing on this now. And just think about this, 10 years ago, we weren't thinking about it."

The purpose of this program is to educate young people about cyber security, but it's also designed to create a diverse pipeline of graduates ready to enter the cyber civilian workforce, higher education, or the military if they choose.

RELATED: Alabama School for Cyber Technology and Engineering receives $500K donation from Radiance Technologies


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