The Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) develops the next generation of cybersecurity leaders and transforms interns into original thinkers, problem solvers, and technical leaders.
The ACE military research seminars demonstrate the value of cyber leaders through exploration and analysis of real-world case studies with experienced Air Force officers. Interns also travel to Gettysburg, PA to study leadership links between the historic conflict in Gettysburg and today. By the end of the 10 weeks, interns exemplify the principles of leading upward.
Beyond academic engagement, interns learn leadership skills through the weekly 8-mile run, labs, and research projects. ACE interns gain insights into planning and decision-making processes, and possess outstanding self-reflection and critical analysis skills.
Because physical fitness is an integral part of the ACE program, interns participate in a weekly 8-mile run through the Griffiss Air Force Base. Though running is a highly individual sport, interns motivate themselves and their peers through high fives and encouraging words. The weekly ACE run promotes not only physical fitness but team building through shared adversity.
ACE interns engage in weekly mission operations and work as teams to solve open-ended, Air Force-relevant problems. Interns learn how to develop exploits and tools to gain access, escalate privileges, and communicate covertly in a contested cyber battlespace.
Weekly ACE lectures prepare interns for the Capstone exercise and develop them into the next generation of cybersecurity leaders. The lectures begin with the basics of the cyber domain before expanding into more technically challenging computer security concepts.
In addition to attending lectures, interns are also responsible for writing comprehensive technical solutions to open-ended problems, as well as explaining these technical concepts in time-constrained oral presentations. This dynamic skill set is instrumental to the final Capstone operations, as well as the interns’ future endeavors and careers.
Interns spend the summer working on intensive, in-depth research projects in research groups. These projects encourage interns to experiment with new concepts and techniques to advance and execute a research plan.
The finale of the program, Capstone, integrates the interns’ leadership, communication, and technical skills in a two-day exercise. During the cyber warfare scenario, interns participate as operators for one of three belligerents engaged in an escalating struggle for dominance. The
ACE Capstone allows interns to observe first-hand the fog and friction of a contested, cyber-physical battlespace and teaches a final lesson on the devastating, asymmetric impact of cyber effects in an Air-Force relevant context.
Since the ACE’s founding in 2003, over 400 interns have graduated from the program, adding them to the growing ranks of technically excellent cyber leaders. ACE alumni apply their incomparable skill sets to their research projects, publications, career pursuits, and positions in the USAF.
- Raphael Mudge, ACE 2003
- Marc Jabbour, ACE 2006